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CROSS Safety Report

Scaffold collapse and slipping clips

Report ID: 152 Published: 1 July 2010 Region: CROSS-UK

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A photograph has been sent in by a reporter which show a scaffold that collapsed onto a parking area.

Key Learning Outcomes

For the construction team:

  • The design and construction of scaffolding requires the same degree of competence and quality as does permanent works

  • Scaffolding supports should be inspected regularly, particularly following bad weather if they are in an external environment

  • The Work at Height Regulations 2005 set out the requirements for inspection

  • It is good practice to carry out a continual risk assessment before and during the use of scaffolding

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


A photograph (Figure 1) has been sent in by a reporter which show a scaffold that collapsed onto a parking area. Luckily, they say, only 11 vehicles were damaged, and no people were injured. The scaffolder's signboard apparently vanished fairly quickly thereafter.

Figure 1: collapsed scaffold

The reporter notes that front to back diagonals and horizontals are offset by half a bay and that the horizontal members are held with putlog clips only. The diagonals and some verticals were wrapped in polythene before the clips were put in place which then appear to have slipped.

Expert Panel Comments

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In a similar case a scaffolding company failed to take sufficient care to protect public when working in a city centre after a pole fell and gashed the leg of a pedestrian. The company was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The scaffolding had been erected on a pavement that had not been closed or restricted, allowing pedestrians to pass by it. Scaffolding should comply with BS EN12811-1, by following the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation, Technical Guidance, TG20:08, Volumes 1 and 2. This case is a reminder of the need to:

  • Appoint competent scaffolders

  • Ensure that scaffolds are designed and built to industry standards, for example TG20

  • Inspect scaffolds properly

  • Plan and supervise their use

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