UK scaffolding body criticises standard of high street scaffolds

By Murray Pollok05 November 2010

The NASC says this is one example of poor quality high street scaffolding.

The NASC says this is one example of poor quality high street scaffolding.

The UK's main scaffolding body the NASC (National Access & Scaffolding Confederation) said that many of the UK's public authorities are failing to ensure that scaffolding installations meet national safety standards.

Local authorities require scaffolders to apply for a permit before they start work. However, an NASC survey found that "almost all" of the permit criteria issued by aauthorities failed to meet legal requirements such as the Health Safety At Work Act 1974, Working At Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction Design Management Regulations 2007.

In response, the NASC has come up with a list of criteria and guidance to provide to local authorities so that they can require scaffolders to work to a consistent standard and comply with best practice and legal requirements.

The survey dfound that almost every authority adopted different criteria and some require nothing more than evidence that the scaffolding company had insurance if something went wrong.

"It is not unusual to hear of scaffold collapses on our public highways", said NASC president Bob Whincap "Any member of the public is potentially at risk every time they step onto a pavement where a scaffold is built."

The NASC has developed detailed guidance, in consultation with the Health & Safety Executive, Highways Authority, Joint Authorities Group UK and the National Traffic Managers Forum. The 11-page document decribes the standards thata a scaffolding contractor and main contractor must work to before a scaffold licence can be granted, including:

Risk Assessments
Scaffold designs
Scaffolder competence
Double boarding with membranes on pedestrian gantries
Protection for public and vehicles
Improved signage
Scaffold Inspection

NASC said the document is a significant ‘step change' from the previous criteria but it is what is needed to help keep our streets safe. The new criteria have been circulated to all authorities in the UK.

The association said the new criteria have been welcomed by a number of authorities. For example, Raymond Pierson of Transport for Lonsdon, said; "TfL will be adopting the NASC's full guidelines and applauds their ‘fight' for a universal improvement into the tightening of conditions for scaffolding contractors."

The criteria can be viewed and downloaded from the NASC's website:

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