Scaffold Inspection Closed due to COVID-19
Three weeks of Lockdown within the United Kingdom, and the whole covid-19 crisis hasn’t changed. Much of the UK is at a standstill, while most construction and scaffolding employers wrestle with unclear Government advice as to whether to stay open or close the sites down, and have their scaffold inspection.
The Government has expressed its desire for key industries, including construction, to maintain productivity, so far as possible.
What do we need to do about scaffold inspection?
That’s the question most frequently asked by scaffolding employees, firstly, all efforts should be made to ensure that statutory requirements are adhered to, and likely that an enforcement will be relaxed for the short-term.
Most in the industry will be aware that scaffold inspection is a statutory requirement, brought about by Regulation 12 of the Work at height Regulations 2005. The types of inspection required by the Regulations are:
- Pre-use Inspection (following installation or assembly)
- After conditions causing deterioration (i.e. severe weather, vehicular impact and interference, etc)
- Seven-day Inspections
What does this mean for the Scaffolding Industry?
From now on until this whole thing blows over, scaffolding will only need to be inspected at 7 days intervals, when and if they are being used as working platforms and therefore, on a closed site and when they are not being used by anyone.
When the scaffolding is taken out of service, reasonable steps must be taken to restrict access to the working platform and warning signs must be displayed at all times. This is a 2-fold duty and you can’t do one without the other, meaning this would have been the same duty as if the scaffold was incomplete.
The Risk Assessment
Here at RG Scaffolding Birmingham, our advice is to risk assess each part of the scaffolding and structures that you have up on site, and give consideration to the particular factors that may impact the stability.
The factors to be considered are:
- Scaffold configuration – is it sheeted or netted? Or is it fully boarded?
- Location – Where is the scaffold situated? Is it exposed to wind, or other conditions that could impact stability?
- Environment – Are there any adjacent activities that could negatively impact the scaffold?
As long as the scaffolding remains safe and considered approach to periodic inspection can be demonstrated, this will usually be enough to satisfy the enforcing Health and Safety workforce.