An untrained scaffolder had to have part of his brain removed after suffering severe head injuries in a 2.5m fall. The worker fell from the first lift of a scaffold as it was being dismantled. He was passing boards down to another worker when he lost his footing and fell to the concrete below. The man from Rainham in Kent, whose name has not been released, suffered severe head injuries and needed surgery to remove the frontal lobe of the brain. He spent many weeks in hospital and now has both memory and behavioural problems, and is unable to walk far. He is unlikely to be able to work again. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Paramount Scaffolding Ltd and director Luke Jessop following the incident at a property in Meopham, near Gravesend, on 25 January this year. Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court heard that Paramount Scaffolding had a three-man team on site to dismantle the scaffolding. Director Luke Jessop was the only trained scaffolder among them. Paramount Scaffolding and Jessup both pleaded guilty to criminal breaches of the Work at Height Regulations and were both fined £2,000 with £1,000 costs. After the hearing HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: ‘This is a very stark example of the tragedy that can result from a task carried out at height without proper thought and planning. It has resulted in life-changing injuries for the worker and has had a devastating impact on his family. In addition, Mr Jessop was a personal friend, and he also has to live with the consequences of his role in the incident.’
LST Comment: Training is paramount for any work place task, whether it is scaffolding, any other construction activity or work in any other industry. These injuries are highly unfortunate; thankfully the incident didn’t injure others too.
Without effective training, individuals can only make it up as they go along.
Training coupled with knowledge of the job, the ability and aptitude to conduct the work in an acceptable manner and relevant experience, should all blend together to enable employers to make a competency judgement on individuals they task to work on their behalf. Cutting corners to in a attempt to save funds can prove morally, legally and financially very expensive.