Safety with access scaffolds: Development of a prototype decision aid based on accident analysis

Sean M. Whitaker, Rod J. Graves, Malcom James, Paul McCann

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    Problem: Accidents involving temporary access systems, particularly temporary scaffolds, account for a large proportion of injuries in the construction industry worldwide. Method: This paper outlines the development of a prototype decision aid (SCAFPASS, an abbreviation for Scaffold Planning Aid for System Safety) to promote access scaffold safety. It was guided by an examination of the root-causes and management deficiencies apparent in: (a) paper-based files of 186 access-related incidents held by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK; and (b) computer-based files of 2,910 incidents appearing in the HSE database between 1997 to 2000. Results: The more frequent root-causes included the fitting of defective components, unauthorized modification of the structure, omission of barriers, and errors resulting in simple, readily detectable structural faults. Common managerial deficiencies included failure to control risk, unsafe methods and procedures, and inadequate training and supervision. Impact on Industry: SCAFPASS aims to avoid these root-causes by improving safety management from the outset and throughout all phases of a project. © 2003 National Safety Council and Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-261
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Safety Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


    • Access scaffold
    • Accident analysis
    • Decision support
    • Root causes
    • Safety


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