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Firms fined for scaffold collapse
Scaffolding collapse
The scaffolding collapsed in January 2005
Two companies responsible for a scaffold collapse which nearly killed a woman have pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety Act.

Sarah-Jane McGeachy, 31, was crushed when tons of poles and planks fell on top of her in Palmerston Place, Edinburgh, in January 2005.

AAA Scaffolding was fined 48,750 and Stone Tec 30,000 at the city's Sheriff Court.

Miss McGeachy spent nine days in intensive care after the accident.

The Royal Bank of Scotland worker was walking to get a bus for her first day back at work after the Christmas and New Year holidays when the scaffolding collapsed.

She spent two months in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and six months off work to recover from her injuries.

Ms McGeachy still suffers pain and has to take medication.

She said a curve in her spine might require further surgery.

Suffers pain

AAA Scaffolding, of Kirkliston, admitted failing to adequately stabilise the scaffolding on 30 December 2004.

The charge said that as a result it was left free-standing and on 4 January it collapsed and struck and trapped Miss McGeachy to her severe injury, permanent impairment, disfigurement and danger to her life.

Stone Tec, of Russell Road, Edinburgh, admitted failing to provide appropriate training to its contracts manager Angus Scott in regard to the inspection of scaffolding between 14 September and 22 December, 2004.

Fiscal depute Angie Main told the court that Stone Tec had been hired by the City of Edinburgh Council to carry out roofing and stone repair work on buildings in Palmerston Place and Lansdowne Crescent.

The Palmerston Place scaffold was left in place for the Christmas holidays.

It is still ongoing for me and will be for the rest of my life
Sarah-Jane McGeachy

Ms Main said it had been a windy night on 3 January and the following morning the scaffolding collapsed.

A health and safety inspection revealed that the scaffolding in Palmerston Place was secured to the building by only one tie.

Advocate Gavin Anderson, appearing for AAA Scaffolding, said the company's owner Scott Lawrie had failed to give adequate instructions on securing the scaffolding.

Mr Anderson said there was a suspicion that the workers were anxious to do the work as quickly as possible because of the New Year holiday.

Solicitor Clare Bone, acting for Stone Tec, said Mr Scott had not checked the scaffolding properly.

"He simply asked people how the scaffolding felt," she said.

She added that there appeared to be an insufficiency of training and knowledge about scaffolding industry-wide.

After the hearing, Miss McGeachy expressed her relief that the court case was now over.

She said: "It is still ongoing for me and will be for the rest of my life."

About the accident, she said it was "pretty miraculous" that she had not been killed.


SEE ALSO
Falling scaffolding traps woman
04 Jan 05 |  Scotland

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