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730 Collapsed scaffolding

Report ID: 730

Published: Newsletter 56 - October 2019

Report Overview

Following modest levels of snow fall in the winter, scaffolding erected in order to support a temporary roof collapsed inwards, says a reporter.

Report Content

Scaffolding was erected in order to support a temporary roof as part of a first-floor extension to a school building. Following modest levels of snow fall in the winter, the scaffolding collapsed inwards, says a reporter. The wind speeds were low and not thought to be a contributing factor to the collapse.

The reporter expected such a structure to be designed for snow loading in accordance with current standards, so concluded that the scaffolding was not constructed properly. However, when they visited the site after the collapsed scaffolding was reconstructed, they were unable to obtain any information from site personnel on the causes of the collapse.

The reporter climbs scaffolding frequently in the course of their work and this event highlighted to them the importance of carrying out a continual ‘risk assessment’ before and during use of scaffolding.


The design and construction of scaffolding requires the same degree of competence and quality as does permanent works and if this is not the case, then collapses can occur. If the scaffolding was being used (at least in part) as a means of access and a working platform, as well to support a temporary roof, then BS EN 12811-1 Temporary works equipment - Scaffolds - Performance requirements and general design and TG20:13 Good Practice Guidance for Tube and Fitting Scaffolding provide industry guidance for the design for tube and fitting scaffolding. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 set out the requirements for inspection (nominally every 7 days).

The scaffolding is also temporary works, so the principles of BS 5975:2019 Code of practice for temporary works procedures and the permissible stress design of falsework, published in May 2019, also applies. How often is scaffolding of this nature subject to an independent check?

Again, there is a collection of CROSS reports on safety issues concerned with scaffolding.

79 Scaffold collapse
111 Unauthorised scaffolding
152 Scaffold collapse and slipping clips
219 Deficiencies on access scaffold
230 Defective imported scaffold ties
407 Unsafe timber scaffolding
430 Failure of anchor bolts holding suspended scaffold
436 Mobile scaffold tower falls 7 storeys
571 Injuries from falling scaffold tube
575 Scaffold overturn
701 Designed scaffold built incorrectly
702 Scaffold lifting beams incorrectly installed


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