Scaffolder Fined for Endangering Himself and Others

A self-employed scaffolder from Hastings has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive because he was deemed to be a danger to himself and others.

Gareth Roser was working on a building in Hastings on the 14th October 2010 when a passer-by, who happened to be an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, noticed that the scaffolder was not adhering to laws pertaining to work at height.

Mr Roser was seen balancing on scaffolding tubes approximately eight metres in the air without using a safety harness despite the fact that harnesses were readily available on-site. Considering that falls from height result in around 4,000 workers suffering accident at work injuries in the UK each year, the Health and Safety Executive inspector was quick to point out Mr Roser’s error.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court, Mr Roser was fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of £643 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is (a) properly planned; (b) appropriately supervised and (c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable, safe.”

Contractors Giant Scaffolding Limited, of Battle, admitted breaching the same provision and also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 20(2)(j) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Giant Scaffolding Limited was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs. Personal injury claims involving falls from height are nearly as common as whiplash claims in the UK

After the court hearing, Melvyn Stancliffe, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, 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.”

Mr Stancliffe added: “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 Limited 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.”