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Health & Safety Scaffold Board Worries ….

By: tonybowden | 0 Comment

Here at UK Demolition & Construction in Gloucester we take the Health & Safety of all staff and visitors on our sites very seriously, so when we read about the below in Construction News we were disappointed that constructors would rise harm and danger to employees for the sake of such small savings.

Here is the article from Construction News dated 5th February 2016.

“Sales of non-compliant scaffold boards make up 20 per cent of the market – even though they were outlawed seven years ago.

The introduction of BS2482:2009 back in 2009 was supposed to be the death knell of the inappropriately named Grade A scaffold boards, as they don’t comply with the latest product quality standards – and therefore HSE requirements.

But, seven years after they were outlawed, sales are climbing again – accounting for up to 20 per cent of the sales of scaffolding boards in the UK.

Clear standards

The British Standard is clear. BS2482:2009 – which replaced BS2482:1981 – covers board sizing, board construction, timber quality and grading requirements for the three main timber scaffold boards with a width of 225 mm and a thickness of either 38 mm or 63 mm.

In a nutshell, British Standard 1.2 m support span, 38 mm × 225 mm boards are ideal for general construction and come in lengths from 0.6 m to 4.8 m.

Click here!
Then there’s the 38 mm × 225 mm, 1.5 m support span, which can only be machine strength graded; this is a high-grade board that tends to be used by the industrial scaffolding sector.

And finally, there’s the 63 mm × 225 mm British Standard 2.5 m support span, which is typically used on Kwikstage or Cuplock scaffolding systems.

We produce more than two million British Standard scaffold boards each year and sell them directly to our suppliers, so we don’t really have access to the end user to find out why sales of Grade A are buoyant.

What we do know is that the issue is more acute at the SME end of the market, as large construction companies insist on compliant British Standard boards.

Rising problem

Cost is obviously a perceived factor – but the reality is that Grade A boards are only as little as 20p cheaper than fully compliant boards.

How to spot compliant scaffold boards
Here are the four main things you should be looking for on the banding at either end of a scaffold board:

Correct support span (1.2 m max or 1.5 m max for 38 mm boards, and 2.5 m max for 63 mm boards).
BS2482:2009 – the number and year of the British Standard.
The Kitemark (or other third-party accreditation) with the supplier’s identification. For example, John Brash uses the BSI Kitemark licence and licence number 07800.
Initials indicating whether the board has been machine or visually graded (MG or VG).
The inevitable ‘supply and demand’ issue is one that is on a par with price.

We know that there is a market for them and that some companies are fearful of losing business, so they will sell customers what they ask for, rather than losing the sale to a competitor.

In tandem with this, the process of manufacturing scaffold boards leads to a surplus of seconds, and some manufacturers use this to maximise the revenue from each cubic metre of timber they buy.

Given the potential harm involved, why would any company risk it for as little as 20p a board?”

At UK Demolition & Construction safety is paramount and no amount of monetary savings are work the potential risk to an employees life. For more information about our services please contact us by email or telephone, or arrange to meet us at our Gloucester Office.