Concerns have been raised recently about the level of unsafe scaffolding that’s finding its way into the UK. One firm in particular has become concerned enough about the problem, and the risk to life, to voice its concerns publicly.
The issue of unsafe scaffolding was brought to light by St Helens Plant, which is a top scaffolding manufacturer specialising in reconditioning scaffolding. They found a disturbing rise in the number of substandard system scaffolding being circulated. The older and second-hand scaffolding was often found to be badly corroded, with St Helens believing the recession was a major reason for the sharp rise. The amount of home-grown suppliers consequently became smaller during the recession, which left contractors having to meet increasing demand by utilising other sources.
St Helens stated that outsourced, used stock that has been imported is now being used more often. After this stock has been shot blasted, the dangerous, and possibly deadly, levels of corrosion are then made apparent. A rise in the failure rate of spigot scaffolding has also been noticed by St Helens – notably the corrosion levels of the spigot when it comes out of a standard tube type of 4mm.
The relevant governmental bodies, and leading suppliers of scaffolding, have been alerted by the firm regarding the scale of the problem. A spokeswoman for St Helens said that the construction and scaffolding industry in the UK were today struggling to meet demand for equipment. She added that, for most, outsourcing equipment is “now the only option”, though much of the outsourced equipment is “inadequate and unsafe.”
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