Scaffolding Collapse Sparks Call for Urgent Inquiry

UNITE, the UK’s construction union, is seeking an urgent investigation following a major scaffolding collapse.

The incident
Emergency services were called to the former Friars Walk shopping centre on Garrard Street, Reading, shortly after 11.15am yesterday (Thursday 1 August) after the building’s scaffolding collapsed and injured three people.

Firefighters used thermal imaging equipment to search for anyone who may have been trapped but no one was found.

None of the three injured were seriously hurt but all were taken to hospital.

A site worker was treated for a head injury and a man and
a woman were treated for suspected shock and an ankle injury respectively.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident and are making initial inquiries.”

The centre was being demolished as part of a redevelopment scheme in the town centre and was previously used as retail and office space, Reading council said.

In order to learn from the collapse, Unite believes that the HSE must swiftly undertake an open and transparent inquiry into the collapse.

Unite national officer, Jerry Swain

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “Everyone must be very grateful that the injuries reported so far have not been serious. It is hoped that there are no other injuries and that no one remains trapped under the collapsed scaffolding. If fatalities have been avoided, that is only through luck.

“A full inquiry must not just include the immediate reasons for the scaffolding collapse but also examine whether the work had been sub-let, were all workers on site properly employed, and did they all have the appropriate skills and training. It is essential that we learn
the lessons from this accident to prevent similar serious incidents in the future.”

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