Knowing the difference between safe and unsafe scaffolding can be obvious to all, but the nuances of what we, as safety professionals consider safe, is what allows you as contractors and builders, to be the correct side of the Law should the HSE just happen to drive past your site.
As you can see in fig 1 (above) there are sections of the upper level which allow access, via ladders, onto the top deck and thereby the pitched roof. On these sections, there should be access gates which only open inwards. There are sections of toe boards missing where the gates 'should be', but the erector "thought they weren't required on a job due to last only a few days" in a valleys back street (probably). The scaffold safety inspection tags were not compliant either.
However, if there was an accident and a team member suffered a fall, who would be liable for the accident and who would be punished and fined? That's right...You, the contractor!
You will have instructed them to erect the scaffold to an agreed design. You will have recruited them as sub-contractors and checked they were competent to carry out the work. You may well have relied on their practical knowledge of safe working practice to come up with the design, but that will not absolve you of blame in a court. They, as the industry professionals should be providing you with the safest possible method of access. In this case they haven't, but the blame will still lay with you should there have been an accident.
Lesson? Have your scaffolding inspected independently by a professional to ensure it is safe to access the work area.
Call us for more details on how we can protect you from accidents.
Thankfully, the contractor in question had forbidden all high level works today due to the forecasted high winds and weather warnings so no-one accessed the top deck or pitched roof. That's why I work with select companies...They take safety seriously!