4 experienced scaffolders were dismantling a hanging scaffold that was supported off a conveyor structure, through the walkways either side. The scaffold, built at gantry level, was being removed and floor sections systematically replaced. As the task neared completion, the replacement of one of the sections had been overlooked. One of the scaffolders unclipped his lanyard and walked along the gantry and through the unprotected opening, falling onto a stockpile below. Despite fracturing 2 bones, the contractor is making a good recovery and will hopefully soon be back at work. The image below shows the missing section of flooring.
The contract company was on the Approved List and their personnel inducted on site and competent; however, it was noted they hadn’t received the annual general reinduction
Consideration of the Work at height Hierarchy and ERICP may have identified improvements to the work method. Strict controls are required when removing flooring, handrails, etc. The conveyor was isolated.
Risk Assessments and Method Statements were in place, but there were opportunities to expand on the level of detail. The contractors advised that they did not record their pre task risk assessment.
The General Permit covered several scaffolding tasks and there was no High Risk Permit. Supervisors would benefit from additional awareness training in high risk tasks
The contractors followed safe practices, wearing harnesses and using double lanyards. The scaffolder's specialist climbing helmet and chin strap prevented more severe injury. Retractable lines and fall arrest / retrieval are required for this type of work.