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CROSS Safety Report

Unsafe timber scaffolding

Report ID: 407 Published: 1 April 2014 Region: CROSS-UK

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Concerns were raised after a reporter observed a rickety temporary scaffold that had been constructed from 4”x2” (100mm x 50mm) timbers.

Key Learning Outcomes

For all built environment professionals:

  • If you notice a potential safety issue not during the course of your work, consider reporting it to the owner or tenant

  • If the owner is not known, then the appropriate regulator could be informed

For construction professionals and design engineers:

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

Full Report

Find out more about the Full Report

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 rickety temporary scaffold (Figure 1) had been constructed from 4”x2” (100mm x 50mm) timber and scaffold boards apparently nailed together, says a reporter. As a professional duty of care, they emailed the Local Authority Building Control Department to strongly suggest that a building control officer or council engineer visit the site and condemn the scaffold structure before someone had a serious accident.

Figure 1: temporary timber scaffold

They also telephoned the authority who advised them that they could not act in connection with a scaffold as it was not permanent works. After all the most critical stage in a development (or in this case maintenance) of a building is when there are temporary works. They tried calling the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to discuss this issue but without success. However, the reporter later received confirmation from the local authority that the property was visited, and the scaffold removed.

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