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SCAFFOLDING CONTRACTOR AND SCAFFOLDER FINED

Harness was ‘in the van’ and contractor warned of dangerous working practices

Giant Scaffolding Ltd and a scaffolder working for the company have both been fined after the workman was found working on a four-storey scaffold without wearing and using appropriate fall arrest equipment.

Hastings Magistrates’ Court heard Gareth Roser was observed by an HSE inspector balancing on scaffold tubes without a safety harness some 8m from the ground on 14 October 2010. Fall arrest harnesses were available for use but were left in their van.

Well-established industry guidance requires scaffolders to wear and use a fall arrest harness when more than 4m above ground without a safe platform to stand on and edge protection in place.

The court heard that following the incident Giant Scaffolding repeatedly failed to reply to written questions put to them by the HSE inspector.

Contractor had been warned about dangerous working practices

Giant Scaffolding Ltd, of Ringletts Farm, Whatlington Road, Battle, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and a breach of Section 20(2)(j) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined at total of £15,000 with costs of £5,000.

Mr Roser, a self-employed scaffolder from St Mary’s Terrace, Hastings, was fined £750 and ordered to pay £643 in costs after admitting a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Melvyn Stancliffe, said:

“The simple measure of wearing a harness can save scaffolders from death or serious injury. A basic common sense approach to work is all that’s needed to prevent a possible tragedy.

In many cases, harnesses are available but some workmen just cannot be bothered to wear them. They should take a moment to think about the consequences.

It was reckless for Mr Roser to be working in this way. He was exposing himself and members of the public walking below to unnecessary risk. He was seen working in 2008 in similar circumstances and was warned about his future conduct.

Giant Scaffolding Ltd has also been warned about the dangerous working practices of those working for it.

These prosecutions show that HSE will not tolerate poor working practices and will take firm action against individuals and contractors who ignore their health and safety obligations.”

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