View Full Version : Withdrawal of BS 5973:1993

22nd February 2011, 01:51 PM
Following the withdrawal of BS 5973 for the design of tube and fitting scaffolding structures at the end of 2010,the industry should be working to the European Standard BS EN 12811-1:2003
A "working well Together" seminar is taking place in Telford on Wednesday 23rd Feb and the following subjects are being dealt with by industry experts.
TG 20:08 A Guide to Good Practice for Scaffolding with Tubes and Fittings.
SG4:10 Preventing Falls in Scaffolding
Correct Selection and Testing of Scaffold Anchor Ties.
This event will be benefitial for senior managers,safety officers or directors and personnel who carry out Scaffold Anchor Tie Testing.
Details from barbara.cliff@hse.gsi.gov.uk
A very sucessful event was held in Stafford last week and one is planned for the Nottingham area next.

Telford Construction Centre,Stafford Park6 Telford TF3 3AT
From 8am Tea/Coffee Etc
Seminar commences 8-30am ----12-30

22nd February 2011, 02:02 PM
howdy roy how are ya - is business busy

22nd February 2011, 03:26 PM
Hi Chris
Yes we are busy as more and more Companies are complying with recommendations to test scaffold ties.

22nd February 2011, 03:45 PM
Good luck with the training hopefully people will understand more about how we work.

22nd February 2011, 07:47 PM
Seems a lot of information to impart in 4 hours tester, is it just an over view?

22nd February 2011, 11:03 PM
Covers a fair amount of basics on TG20.We are able to give around 25mins on suitable tie anchors particularly stressing that the Hilti HKD has at last been outlawed for use in brick and then covering the later types of anchor like the self cutting concrete screw and ringbolts.Out of 120 scaffolders at the last seminar only around 12 admitted to testing anchors on all jobs which is appalling from a safety point of view and certainly not in the spirit of TG4.Maybe our industry will wake up one day soon!

22nd February 2011, 11:54 PM
A bit depressing to say the least. What do you make of the tie tag and do you think it will help? I have been looking at doing something a bit more methodical and thought it would be worth a go.

Pro - Fix
23rd February 2011, 08:08 AM
It would be interesting to know how many tie testing machines the larger or national companies have per depot / number of gangs?
we only run with 5 men so one machine per 2 gangs i would have thought was a decent ratio but is this wrong?
Should each gang have a machine?
Your thoughts on this should be interesting.

23rd February 2011, 08:37 AM
1 machine to 20 men is also a ratio !!!
We usually get one guy to do all the tie testing

23rd February 2011, 06:27 PM
Safety Harness Eyebolts when tested to EN795 have to be tagged with the date on which they were tested and the re-test date in 12 months shown.This is done with a round plastic disc normally with the testing Co name on it.No reason why a similar system could be devised for scaffold ties and anchors.Maybe some companies already do this??
I recently saw some scaffolding in Florida USA which had all the fixings tagged with a sign which said

23rd February 2011, 06:34 PM
Safety Harness Eyebolts when tested to EN795 have to be tagged with the date on which they were tested and the re-test date in 12 months.This is done with a round plastic disc normally with the testing Co name on it.No reason why a similar system could be devised for scaffold ties and anchors.Maybe some companies already do this??

they do;)

23rd February 2011, 07:53 PM
Scafftag do a tag for ties. Test date, Load test.

23rd February 2011, 10:05 PM
That's the ones I was talking about, just bought some to try out.

Ken Cain
3rd March 2011, 09:46 PM
This is a copy of an email received from HSE infoline this week.

I wonder if Philip White HSE knows?


28 Feb 2011

Dear Mr Cain

Thank you for your enquiry regarding BS5973

The following information has been provided by Andrew East who is based
within the HSE's Construction Sector:

Up until now scaffolding was erected in accordance with BS5973.

However, BSEN12811 has now been brought in. The two standards are very
different. BSEN 12811 is a European System primarily aimed at 'System
scaffolding'. The standard doesn't fit very well with the old BS5973 which
is what Britain primarily uses.

Although BS 5973 has been withdrawn, the HSE has no safety concerns with
scaffolders continuing to use it. From an Enforcement point of view, both
standards are considered 'safe'. Therefore the HSE have no date set by
which an organisation must use the new standard.For further advice or interpretation on this subject you will need to speak
to your enforcing authority for health and safety. Under the Health and
Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998, this depends upon the nature
of the activities carried out at your workplace. We are only able to
provide information that is published in HSE regulations or associated

The HSE enforce health and safety legislation in premises such as
factories, building sites, mines, farms, fairgrounds, quarries, chemical
plant, offshore and nuclear installations, schools and hospitals.

To locate your local HSE office, please contact Infoline on 0845 345 0055.

I hope this helps, but if you require further assistance, please do not
hesitate to contact this address again or telephone HSE Infoline on 08453

Yours sincerely


HSE Infoline

3rd March 2011, 10:27 PM
And they wonder why we get confused.:confused:

3rd March 2011, 10:40 PM
so does that mean we can carry on as before ?

3rd March 2011, 11:09 PM
I think it means we can certainly go back to single bay bracing.:unsure:

Ken Cain
4th March 2011, 12:01 AM
HSE infoline is there to give us support, how are we expected to get it right if we are given the wrong information.

The following has been copied from the HSE website:
New HSE guidance – June 2010HSE's Chief Inspector of Construction, Philip White said: ... As from 1st January 2011 HSE will no longer acknowledge BS5973:1993 as a recognised standard for the design of tube and fitting scaffolding structures"
BS5973 to be formally withdrawn by end of 2010.
The UK scaffolding industry should be fully conforming to the European Standard BS EN12811-1:2003 by the end of 2010

4th March 2011, 12:53 AM
Ken, it is confusing, seems Mr Philip White and Mr Andrew East of HSE are singing from different hymn sheets.

4th March 2011, 03:15 AM
?????????? Help???????????

Ken Cain
4th March 2011, 12:10 PM
I believe that between the members of the Scaffolders Forum there is a pool of extensive knowledge and experience of scaffolding that it places them at the forefront of the industry. The amount of knowledge and experience of those members makes the Forum a formidable force to be reckond with.

British Standards are produced for voluntary use only and in themselves have no regulatory status, unless mandated by British or European regulations, although they may support UK legislation and regulation such as The Working at Height Regulations 2005 Regulation,

An example of this is Regulation 7 (2) of The Working at Height Regulations 2005

“An employer shall select work equipment for work at height which –
(a) has the characteristics including dimensions which –

(i) are appropriate to the nature of the work to be performed and for
foreseeable loadings; and

(ii) allow passage without risk; and

(b) is in other respects the most suitable work equipment”.

The regulations are quite explicit about what has to be accomplished, but not how.

Take (i) for instance

“Characteristics including dimensions which are appropriate to the nature of the
work to be performed and for the foreseeable loading”.

It would be impossible to comply with this regulation without having some sort of guidance, and this is where the (BS) British Standard and (EN) European Normalisation come into play.

For information and guidance for “dimensions and foreseeable loading” we would now look at

Scaffolds – Performance requirements and general design.

Clause 6 Requirements for structural design

6.1 Basic requirements

6.1.1 General

‘Each working scaffold shall be designed, constructed and maintained to ensure that it does not collapse or move unintentionally and so that it can be used safely. This applies at all stages, including erection, modification and until fully dismantled’.

Before the introduction of BS EN 12811-1:2003 we used BS 5973 as follows:

BS 5973 (withdrawn June 2004) Section 2. Standard scaffolds – 8.5.1 General ‘Unsheeted access and working scaffolds may be constructed up to a height of 50 m without calculations’

Tie tables in accordance with BS 5973 were in accordance with table 1(a) Unsheeted independent tied scaffolds with non-movable ties the frequency was every 40 square metres.

The effects of horizontal lateral load specified in BS EN 12811-1:2003 means that tie assemblies will normally need to be designed for tension as well as horizontal shear. As a rule of thumb tie frequency should not exceed 16 square metres (every two lifts and every two bays) 4 metres maximum vertically and horizontally.

Therefore to comply with Regulation 7 of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 we would need to be working in accordance with BS EN 12811-1:2003

Should an incident occur with the scaffolding and it was discovered that we had been working to the superseded sections of BS 5973 and not to BS EN 12811 then a prosecution may follow.

But of course it may not end there because your insurance company may infer that because you have failed to carry out you work in accordance with the WAH Regulations 2005 you may have committed a criminal offence resulting in your insurance being null and void.

It is so important that the HSE Infoline provide the correct information and not tell us something that if we followed could result in a criminal prosecution.

4th March 2011, 12:26 PM
Good blog Ken have you spoke tO you insurance ?

4th March 2011, 01:59 PM
Ken, It seems to be a legal minefield, catch 22, your dammed if you do, or dammed if you dont, By the failure to provide clarity they have inadvertenly set up a potential battlefield in a court of law if anything goes wrong. It's so worded in the interest of the insurance industry and the legal proffesion that they wont be able to stand over their own reccomendations, the only losers are going to be the scaffold companies even if they have followed the reccomendations.

Ken Cain
4th March 2011, 02:56 PM

My insurance company have stated that should I be successfully prosecuted by the HSE for breach of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 then my general accident insurance policy becomes null and void and this is because technically I would have been found guilty of a criminal offence, and it is the policy of insurance companies not to reward criminals.

Ken Cain

4th March 2011, 08:38 PM
The only people that will be delighted to hear of this anomaly is the insurance companies that will drop you as soon as look at you.

Ken Cain
4th March 2011, 09:18 PM
They will take your money first, then let you down when you need them most.

17th March 2011, 04:34 PM
Scafftag do a tag for ties. Test date, Load test.
Brandy you are bang on. We do two Tie tag versions - a simple warning tag to indicate that it is a tie and shouldn't be removed and another which indicates that it is a tie which has been tested and shows the test results. We have an update due out shortly which is even better. If you want some samples let me know.