As the schools break up across the UK and children once again find themselves looking at an almost impossibly long period of time during which they are free to entertain themselves it is important to highlight once again the dangers of construction sites.
Unfortunately construction sites have often been seen by children as exciting and intriguing, almost as though they are adventure playgrounds. However, construction sites of any kind certainly aren’t playgrounds, and are far from suitable for children.
Construction Health and Safety Measures
With many such sites across the country, and with many children at a loose end it’s vital that all of us, from parents to construction workers, from health and safety professionals to passersby think about the potential dangers of children near construction sites and do everything possible to keep them safe.
Unsafe Scaffolding Practice In Merseyside
Certainly this message fell on deaf ears in Merseyside just recently, as a case which came before Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard of a father who allowed his ten year old son to climb on the scaffolding with him while he carried out maintenance work on a property.
A passing HSE inspector noticed the young boy waiting on a dangerous section of the scaffolding while his father worked on the roof. Quite apart from endangering the young boy, the situation was made even worse by the fact that the scaffolding itself was unsafe, having not been erected in line with standard safety regulations. There were no railings, no boards around the edge and the whole construction was unsecured.
An immediate Prohibition Notice was issued, and the father was ordered to carry out 80 hours of Community Service and ordered to pay costs of £200.
Tragic Scaffold Accident In Washington, Tyne-And-Wear
A tragic, and sadly entirely avoidable accident involving scaffolding and a young child occurred a little while back in 2009, when a construction company left scaffolding unattended for 12 days, despite only actually needing it for half an hour.
As a result of the scaffolding being left unattended for so long during the summer when children were bored and looking for adventure a group of local children began playing on it, and constructed a den quite high up on it. Unfortunately a seven year old child fell to his death as a result.
The construction company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £46,109, but frankly this pales into insignificance compared to the tragic loss of a young child.
An Important Health And Safety Message For The Summer
All of us need to get the message out to children that scaffolding and construction sites should always be left alone, and that construction companies need to be extra cautious during the next few weeks, and pay close attention to the situation.
If children are seen on or near a construction site work should cease until the situation is safe. Heavy tools, equipment or materials should be left on the ground or fixed securely, and sites should be very securely locked at the end of each day.
For more advice on helping with Construction Health and Safety and to keep children safe during the long summer holidays, especially around scaffolding or construction sites, please call one of our professional Health and Safety Advisors on 0800 1488 677 who will be happy to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.