A Scaffolder witnessed on a scaffold without a harness has been handed a suspended sentence and community service. The court heard that photographs were taken of the Scaffolder standing on top of a scaffold in Manchester, with no edge protection and no harness attached to the scaffold or the building.
The fall height was estimated at between 13 and 18 metres, had he fallen from this height onto the concrete deck below, there was a high probability that his injuries would have been fatal.
The HSE investigated the incident and found that the Scaffolders employers had taken reasonable steps to avoid unsafe work at height. The Scaffolder was trained and experienced and had the correct equipment available to him to work safely. The HSE found that he had acted alone, against the training he had received to work on the scaffold without edge protection. He was also accompanied by a trainee Scaffolder, so was also setting an unsafe example.
The Scaffolder pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for one year and given 100 hours of community service.
The HSE Inspector gave the following statement: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and should be taken seriously.
“This case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to erect scaffolding in a safe manner, which does not cause risk to members of the public and workers using the scaffold.
“It also serves to remind employees that they have a duty to look after themselves.”