Ref: TS -6- 110208

SAFETY FLASH
Brief Description of Incident Whilst in the process of dismantling a scaffold tower, a Scaffolder fell approximately 5.0 m to the ground when the board he was believed to be standing on broke. The Scaffolder sustained major fractures to his right leg and ankle and a ‘hairline’ fracture of his left ankle. The reason for the board breaking is, at the present time unclear, however, it is thought that the Scaffolder was stood on a single board with both hooks of his twin tailed lanyard unclipped at the time of the fall. Additional Factors The injured person was an experienced Chargehand Scaffolder, qualified to ‘Advanced’ level. He had worked on the particular site for many years and was fully aware of the risks associated with the job. He appeared to adopt an unsafe method of work, in contravention of his SG4 training as he failed to ensure that he had a safe boarded platform, fitted with single guardrails, before disconnecting his lanyard. There is also some doubt regarding the method and sequence of dismantling adopted, as ladders were not fixed to provide access to the structure.

Scaffold tower being dismantled Path of fall
Key Recommendations Before starting any job, always take the time to plan how to carry out the work safely at all stages and ensure that sufficient details of all the hazards and how they will be controlled have been recorded on the risk assessment (or method statement if applicable). If during the course of the work, it becomes apparent that the work cannot be carried out as planned, always stop and re assess. All work must be carried out in strict compliance with the requirements of your SG4 training, the site rules, or for special circumstances, the agreed method statement. Never improvise. If you are unsure of how to proceed safely, ask your supervisor. Your lanyard must remain clipped to a suitable anchorage point at all times when there is the risk of a fall. When changing position always connect the second lanyard hook before unclipping the first. If you notice one of your workmates working unsafely or taking an unnecessary risk, don’t ignore it. Please stop him. You just may save his life.

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