The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation has issued the advice below on dealing with the forthcoming impact of Coronavirus on the industry. 

What should I do if my scaffolding inspector has been forced into self-isolation?

  1. As the scaffolding company has been employed to undertake the scaffolding inspections and not the individual the main contractor may request another inspector from the scaffolding company to attend.

What happens if the site is shut down? Do we still need to carry out weekly inspections?

1. In the context of seven-day inspections, section 12 (4) of the Regulations states, “…every employer shall ensure that a working platform used for construction work; and from which a person could fall 2 metres or more is not used in any position unless it has been inspected in that position or, in the case of a mobile working platform, inspected on the site, within the previous 7 days.”

2. Based on the above no 7-day inspections will be required as the site is closed and no one will be accessing the scaffolding (However reference must be made to section 3, 4, 5 and 6 below). An inspection will be required the day the scaffolding is required to come back into use. In many ways, this is similar to the Christmas period. Please continue to monitor Government announcements and liaise with the main contractor on site regarding this. 

3. On closed sites, or where access has been restricted to scaffolding structures, a judgement needs to be made (a risk assessment) to determine the suitable frequency at which scaffolding should be inspected or checked for a deterioration in condition. These inspections may be less frequent than the seven-day inspections and the actual required frequency will depend on the risk of deterioration. 

4. The statutory inspection requirement still applies for scaffolds that may have been affected by an event or conditions causing deterioration, such as high winds or impact by a vehicle or items of mobile plant and they must not be used until an inspection has taken place. 

5. Consideration must be given to the ongoing stability of scaffolds and they cannot be simply forgotten about because they are not in use. This applies to all temporary scaffolding structures including special purpose structures, falsework, formwork and not only access scaffolding that includes working platforms. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 apply to all construction work in the UK. Regulation 19 of CDM (Stability of Structures) states, “All practicable steps must be taken, where necessary to prevent danger to any person, to ensure that any new or existing structure does not collapse…”

6. Advice is to risk assess each scaffold and give consideration to the particular factors that may impact its stability. From there, a judgement can be made as to how often the scaffold should be inspected. Factors to be considered might include:

  • Scaffold configuration – is it sheeted or netted? Or is it fully boarded?
  • Location – Where is the scaffold situated? Is it exposed to wind, or other conditions that could impact stability?
  • Environment – Are there any adjacent activities that could negatively impact the scaffold?

What happens if we’re advised not to attend sites?

If the Government or indeed the main contractor advises you not to attend site this will apply to all trades and individuals so the same scenario as a site shut above down where an inspection will not be required until the site is re-opened and the scaffolding is required to be put back in use will apply.

The industry trade body has advised that the above is strictly NASC advice. And asks to seek relevant professional guidance wherever and whenever applicable to ensure you are as best placed as possible to manage whatever the specific implications of the spread of coronavirus are to your business and employees. 
Information sourced from –