Construction firm owner fined for hazardous scaffolds

Published:  07 January, 2015

The owner of a small construction firm in Portsmouth has been fined after he erected a number of dangerous scaffolds.

Graham Pedaltey, trading as Graham’s Scaffolds, put up a series of scaffolds in late 2013 that were riddled with dangerous faults, such as unguarded platforms and rotting wooden planks. A particularly hazardous scaffold in North End Avenue was reported by a member of the public, and subsequently investigated by the Health & Safety Executive, which prosecuted Mr Pedaltey on 6 Jan 2015 for safety breaches.

The court heard that the scaffold, erected on 18 October, had numerous faults. For a start, it was not tied to the building, meaning it was insecure and more liable to collapse. It also lacked baseplates on many uprights, meaning that the scaffold could have sunk into the ground or punched through drains or cavities; there were few – if any – guardrails on the lifts to prevent falls from height; there was no bracing on the middle scaffold on the middle working platform; and many of the boards were rotten and could have broken under workers’ feet.

Despite remedial work carried out by Mr Pedaltey under the request of HSE, there were still defects. The court heard that Mr Pedaltey had received previous advice from HSE on poor scaffolding twice during the previous month of September 2013.

Mr Pedaltey was fined a total of £1,600 and ordered to pay £600 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Work at Height Regulations.

“Mr Pedaltey not only erected numerous unsafe scaffolds, but also relied on his knowledge from training delivered in 1979 – more than 30 years earlier,” said HSE inspector Peter Snelgrove after the hearing. “He has now been prohibited from erecting scaffolds until he has completed further training to acquaint himself with up-to-date safety legislation and scaffolding standards.

“His failings created a risk of death or serious personal injury. Scaffolds are temporary structures and their integrity and safety must be ensured to safeguard the workers and passers-by.”