Construction injury highlights importance of using certified systems

A recent accident has resulted in two construction companies being fined a total of £46,000 after a bricklayer was injured due to the failure of a working platform.

The accident is extremely regrettable and FASET, as the established trade association and training body for the temporary safety systems industry, would like to express its sympathy to the injured worker and wish him all the best for a full recovery. We understand that SGS Construction & Design Limited was acting as a contractor and supplied workers to erect the platform which failed.

An HSE investigation found that a number of components were missing from the working platform. Although previously workers supplied by SGS were formally trained in the erection of the components to form a safe working platform, the worker who erected the failed platform had not received adequate training.

The signing off as a safe working platform had earlier been undertaken by a site manager working for Dere Street Homes. When this manager left, a number of months prior to the incident, the inspection and signing off of the working platform was no longer undertaken.

After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Rob Hirst commented: “Although the worker did not suffer life changing injuries, there was a potential for more serious injury.

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure that workers are adequately trained, properly supervised, and work activities are appropriately monitored.”

FASET – Fall Arrest Safety Equipment Training – provides expert guidance and training for people working at height. Falls from height are still the leading cause of death in the workplace – that is why our objective is to establish the highest standards of safety, disseminated through training and borne out in practice amongst workers.

As the HSE principal inspector said, the users of all temporary safety systems – including working platforms – are reliant on the competence of the installers of the system. That is why we always advise on using a FASET-trained installer, working for a FASET Corporate Member and using a proven and tested FASET Member’s system.

On 4th November 2020, Tony Seddon, Managing Director of FASET, delivered the first industry webinar on platform decking. It gave practitioners a comprehensive overview of the benefits of this type of access system, the do’s and don’ts, as well as an introduction to the various systems available through FASET’s supply partners.

At FASET, we are keen to emphasise the many benefits of platform decking – it is efficient, flexible and extremely robust, removing the need for birdcage scaffolding. At the same time, we always stress that platform decking is NOT a fall arrest system, and that it is important not to mix components from two or more systems as this could have serious safety implications.

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