Collapse of platform highlighted failure in temporary works management

A Manchester-based principal contractor has been prosecuted after a platform collapsed causing two workmen to fall from height in October 2014.

Leeds Crown Court heard how the two joiners were working on the refurbishment and construction of new build dwellings at the former Wharfedale Hospital in Otley, West Yorkshire.

The access platform collapsed causing the men to fall over 3m to a lower platform. The lower platform also collapsed and they fell a further 3m to the ground floor.

One of the workers injured their ankle while the other has suffered permanent nerve damage to the face.

TW must be designed to BS and reviewed

HSE investigators discovered the platforms were ‘designed’ by the site manager who was not competent to carry out such a design and the design had not been reviewed by a competent person. The platform was unsafe and collapsed.

The principal contractor from Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £56,000 and ordered to pay £7262.16 costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Tilley commented:

“The risks associated with working at height are well-known.

Temporary works must always be designed to meet British Standards by a competent person and in the case of more complex works such as this, be subject to a secondary overview.”