While 2015 has been a year of great success in the construction industry, not everything in the sector was completely perfect. One of the most concerning elements has been the increase in sales and use of non-compliant scaffold boards.

As temporary works specialists, scaffold boards are essential to our services. They are placed on scaffolding, support structures and directly on parts of buildings to allow safe and easy access to working areas by specialist staff. It is crucial that the boards used meet all the required quality standards to ensure the safety of workers and to allow the work to be carried out efficiently. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has set standards in place for the expected competencies of temporary works. When it comes to scaffold boards, it is clear that they must comply with the relevant British Standard. BS2482:2009, the successor to BS2482:1981, clearly states the minimum size, construction, quality of timber and dimensions that must be applied to scaffold boards. Despite this, it is feared that some 20% of the scaffold board bought and used in the UK falls substantially below the HSE requirement and does not meet the criteria of BS2482:2009.

In order to stop the use of non-compliant scaffold boards, it is important to understand exactly why they are being used. The fact that they do not live up to the required quality standards does not seem to be enough of a deterrent, despite the fact that this could be enough to void insurance coverage and leave companies open to prosecution. Worryingly, cost does not seem to be a driving factor, as non-compliant scaffold boards are not significantly cheaper than the correct ones.

It seems that the main reason non-compliant scaffold boards are being used is companies are simply unaware of the regulations and are inadvertently putting work at risk through the use of incorrect equipment. There have been many cases of substandard boards being marketed as “Grade A”, despite falling below the British Standards threshold.

Companies are being encouraged to check that all scaffold boards they buy do not just sound like they are the right thing, but that they also meet HSE requirements by means of complying with BS2482:2009. We are committed to upholding the highest standards of safety and quality in all the work we do, and always make certain we are using the right scaffold boards alongside the rest of our equipment.