Health & Safety

In recent times the Scaffold Industry has undergone a major transformation.ScaffGap Strip Its working practices, procedures and arrangements for Health and Safety have all been under the microscope. Leading academics, governing bodies, health and safety professionals, scaffolding contractors and individual scaffold operatives have all played their part in bringing this about, striving for a safer place of work.

The impact of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 has been a very significant factor in determining this change. Innovative technology has enabled development of safe systems of work that has revolutionised the way we work.

ScaffGap is only one of the advancements in innovative technology that affords an opportunity for compliance and thereby contributing to a safer system of work and best practice within the scaffolding industry. The measures previously employed to combat the hazard of gaps within working platforms often proved a costly, time consuming solution. Strips of plywood cut and nailed to scaffold boards not only undermined the integrity of the boards but inherently created a trip hazard to the surface of the working platform, increasing, rather than decreasing, risks?

Schedule 3, of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, clearly specifies the requirements for working platforms. In this schedule, with reference to gaps, it clearly states that working platforms be so constructed that the surface of the working platform has no gap through which any material or object could fall and injure a person. Schedule 3 also states working platforms be so erected, used and maintained in such condition, as to prevent the risk of tripping.

Schedule 1, of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, specifies the general principles of prevention. The hierarchy of prevention places a duty to combat the risk at source over mitigating options.

Academic studies and theoretical analysis by Heinrich, Bird, Tye and Pearson illustrate a sliding scale of probability, that, after so many near misses; a number of minor injuries will occur, from so many minor injuries; a number of serious accidents will occur and eventually leading to a fatality.

Gaps in working platforms have caused, to date, some very serious injuries and according to the above academic studies it will only be a matter of time before the unthinkable happens.

Man Laying Scaffolding GapLike all other aspects of Human Endeavour, the Construction Industry is not immune to the evolutionary process. In a relatively short space of time, driven by people who were shocked & appalled by the injury and fatality statistics, Governments were obliged to enact Laws, compelling employers to introduce and observe basic standards of Health & Safety at work, backed up by severe penalties for non-compliance. The ‘Health & Safety at Work Act 1974’ was instrumental in focusing minds on ways to bring about a sea-change in attitudes to the health & well-being of those who work in the Industry.

This legislation not only placed the onus for H&S on the employer but also on employees. It was, therefore, in everyone’s interests, to come up with ideas/innovations which would, hopefully, cut down on the loss of life and limb that had, hitherto, become an almost acceptable/inevitable consequence of working in Construction.

Those ‘Bad old days’ are , hopefully, behind us. Stricter enforcement of H&S law, more regular site inspections, have played their part in convincing, even the most recalcitrant of employers to toe the line! There are still far too many unnecessary casualties, so we must all combine our efforts to, if not totally eliminate them, at least reduce them to a minimum. Any contribution towards this end is worthy of consideration. ScaffGap will provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, a solution to the problem.


  • John Houlihan (Director) 07930 606665
  • Steve Barlow (Director) 07825 332334