Alleged safety failure across Islington ‘put lives at risk’

Many of the scaffold sites are said not to have been checked after St Jude's storm

Many of the scaffold sites are said not to have been checked after St Jude's storm - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A town hall contractor has been accused of putting lives at risk amid claims that more than two thirds of their scaffolding sites weren’t checked for safety after the St Jude’s storm.

Documents seen by the Gazette suggest that up to 80 of Rydon’s 115 scaffolding erections in Islington had not been inspected five days after winds of up to 70mph battered the borough.

Two whistleblowers have already raised concerns with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over fears for the safety of the public and employees.

Legally, all scaffolding has to be checked every seven days and each time it is exposed to conditions likely to cause deterioration, such as adverse weather.

One long term member of staff, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “You have to check them after severe weather – how much more severe can you get than the worst storm in 10 years?

“They are putting lives in danger. Not just people who work for Rydon, but members of the public walking past if the scaffold collapses or a board drops off.

“And what about kids? They need to sort it out.

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“Now they are talking about employing the company who put the scaffolding up to do the safety checks – it’s a massive conflict of interest.”

Another whistle blower added: “This is quite serious. Management isn’t taking responsibility – they want the scaffolding list checked off, but they don’t care whether it’s done properly.

“With this severe weather, it should be checked the next day and it’s still not done. It’s not good enough.”

A HSE spokesman said: “We are aware that a concern has been raised regarding scaffolding safety checks and we are in the process of determining if this warrants any further action in line with our concerns procedures.”

In April, the HSE made inquiries after a similar claim about Rydon’s scaffolding checks on one of their Islington sites.

Rydon declined to comment on the matter prior to the Gazette going to press.