Isle of Wight Council Insists NASC Only
Isle of Wight Council has unveiled plans to raise procurement requirements on public highway scaffolding contracts following a number of fatalities and injuries in recent years.
From September, applications for scaffolding over or on the highways will need to include more information on the purpose of the scaffolding and the method of its construction as well as confirmation operatives erecting it are registered under the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS).
By 2019, scaffolding contractors will also have to be members of the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) to win these contracts. Furthermore, scaffolding towers will be required to display consent from the council as well as the agreed dates the structure can remain in place.
Cabinet member for community safety and public protection, Councillor Tig Outlaw, said: “Without commenting on individual cases, there have been two fatalities and many more injuries through accidents involving scaffolding on the Island in recent years. It is imperative that scaffolding is erected and used correctly and I am delighted that the Island now has more robust policies in place to ensure that happens.
“This is not a case of excessive bureaucracy or overbearing health and safety requirements – it is quite simply about keeping people safe.”
Isle of Wight Working Well Together group chairman John Nicholson said the new policy should give the public confidence that scaffolding erected on or over the public highway was put up to a high professional standard.
“The purpose of having a clear, comprehensive policy is to prevent people without proper insurance operating without the required training and qualification,” he said.
“Those companies on the Island who are professional and conscientious and most are have absolutely nothing to fear from this new approach. The price of an application will not rise but by being more rigorous it will help ensure scaffolding erected on Island highways complies with safety regulations and professional standards.
“It will also help Island Roads, which manages the highway network on the council’s behalf, to monitor and regulate scaffolding that is on the highway.”
Robin James, NASC Managing Director, welcomed the council’s move to adopt more stringent procurement policies.
He said: “We fully support the Isle of Wight council’s decision. By insisting upon NASC members for public highways projects the Council will be able to guarantee that these works are carried out by contractors that are demonstrably proven to be safe, legally compliant and experienced.
“That is because NASC members must meet a strict set of criteria – pertaining to their workforce, working practices and insurance cover, among other requirements – to attain and then retain membership.
“By setting the membership bar high and conducting stringent annual audits, NASC members are able to demonstrate that they are performing to the highest standards. This is evidenced by our Annual Safety Reports, the latest of which saw the number of injuries recorded by our 220+ full contracting members fell to an all-time low.
“Between January and December 2017, our members – employing a total of more than 16,400 operatives – recorded 89 incidents. There were no fatalities for the fifth consecutive year.
“We encourage other local authorities to explore following the Isle of Wight Council’s lead in raising safety standards through adopting a similar NASC only procurement policy.”
Image caption: (L-R) = John Nicholson, IWWWT Chairman; Councillor Tig Outlaw, Cabinet member for community safety and public protection; Mike Leppard, Safety Officer at Isle of Wight Building Safety Association; Ian Thornton, Island Roads Streetworks Manager; and Tony Dean of Scaffolding and Access Safety Consultants Ltd and IWWWT group member.