While the number of fatal injuries in construction have remained relatively low, they are still four times higher than the average across other industries. The main causes of scaffold accidents are down to scaffold defects, improper scaffold erection, a lack of skills, and inadequate maintenance.
This makes training and scaffold inspection vital to the safety of workers. Employers, hirers and end users have a legal obligation to ensure that operatives are fit to use a scaffold, and it is also their responsibility to inspect scaffolding equipment regularly.
Legal scaffold inspection requirements
According to the Working at Heights regulations, scaffolds must be inspected:
- Every time after installation (and prior to being used)
- At intervals not exceeding seven days
- Following events that may impact scaffold strength or stability (adverse weather, heavy impact or unauthorised changes/modifications etc.)
Scaffold inspection requirements also include a full report to be shared with the client/employer before the end of the working period within which the inspection is completed.
Who is held responsible?
The statutory duty for overseeing inspections rests on the hirer or the end user of the scaffold. While scaffolding contractors may conduct inspections themselves, it should be remembered that the user retains the legal duty.
As an employer, it is your legal responsibility to assess any risks to health safety, and this includes to workers as well as members of the public, or anyone else who may be on site. After receiving inspection reports, the employer must keep it at the site until the work is completed, and then at his/her office for a further three months thereafter.
Failure to follow these procedures and provide a safe working environment can lead to hefty fines and prosecution.
Who should carry out inspection?
The person conducting any scaffold inspection should be a competent worker, with expert knowledge, training and experience in checking different elements of scaffolds.
It should be noted that scaffold complexity will determine the level of expertise required. A standard scaffold can be inspected by someone with CISRS Basic Scaffold Inspection training. But CISRS Advanced Inspection card holders may be needed for more complicated structures – and this can only be achieved with a CISRS Advanced Scaffold course.
The inspector has to be able to complete a report with the following:
- A thorough description of the scaffolding structure
- Details of any risks identified
- A list of necessary actions to rectify problems
- Notes on any other further action required to make the scaffolding safe
Book CISRS scaffold inspection training
At Safety & Access, we have years of experience delivering CISRS courses to operatives, managers and supervisors. We provide training in our own training centres in Nottingham and Lincolnshire, as well as on-site for particular programmes.