A scaffolding firm has been fined £5000 after one of its workers fell from an eight-metre-high structure.
JR Scaffolding Services claimed responsibility after a cantilever structure collapsed, leaving employee Scott Knight with serious injuries in September 2016.
The 47-year-old suffered from a collapsed lung, a ruptured spleen and multiple rib and shoulder fractures. Mr Knight lost his spleen and was scarred following an operation.
The company pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks.
It also admitted failing to provide a safe system of work to be followed by employees and failing to ensure the tower scaffold was attached to the building – all to Mr Knight’s severe injury, permanent impairment and permanent disfigurement.
The court heard there were not enough anchors to secure the scaffold to the building in Glasgow’s Alexandra Parade and instead used a friction tie.
Prosecutor Selina Brown told the court the scaffold structure had also been built in the wrong place at the property.
Managing director John Horne instructed a cantilever to be built onto the existing scaffold rather than dismantling the entire structure. It was attached to the scaffolding with rope in a “short amount of time”.
Mr Knight pulled the cantilever up as parts were given to him by colleagues. He was then asked to put boards on the structure while the colleague attached them to the rope.
Ms Brown said: “As he was carrying out this task, he felt the cantilever and tower begin to move.
“The cantilever then collapsed along with the top of the tower scaffold and he fell eight metres to the ground, sustaining multiple injuries.”
Mr Knight was rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment including the removal of his spleen and was discharged two weeks later.
‘He (Mr Knight) has made a full recovery but requires to take antibiotics every day to fight off infection for the rest of his life.’Selina Brown, prosecutor
Ms Brown added: “He has made a full recovery but requires to take antibiotics every day to fight off infection for the rest of his life.”
Mr Knight is still an employee of the company as a yard manager and was paid a full salary up until his return to work in February 2017.
An investigation found that due to a lack of anchors and a ballast to support the scaffolding, it was unable to support the weight of the cantilever.
Ms Knight added: “The incident could have been avoided if the task was properly planned, the existing scaffold was correctly positioned and securely attached to the tenement.”
Defence counsel Susan Duff said: “This offence occurred in a particular set of circumstances, which didn’t reflect the company’s attitude to safety and employees.”
Sheriff Andrew Cubie reduced the fine from £10,000 to £5000 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “The direct consequences of these failures responded to the scaffolding collapsing and Mr Knight sustained serious injuries.
“I accept from the material before me that the failures were not the company’s normal practices and standards. A number of factors appear to have transpired which caused the accident on that day.”
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