A Scaffolder from Surrey has received a suspended prison sentence and has been ordered to wear a tag, after a abusing an HSE Inspector who was carrying out an inspection.
Medway Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 19 August 2016, the Scaffolder was working at a site in Chatham, Kent when an inspector observed him employing unsafe working practices when erecting scaffolding.
An investigation by the HSE revealed that the individual was observed to be putting himself at serious risk of falling while working on scaffolding and when approached by the Inspector, he became abusive and left the scene, leaving the scaffold in an unfit and incomplete state, with no warning signs to warn of this.
The scaffolder pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(3) (prevention of falls) and 8(a) (Collective protection) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and he was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. He has also been subject to the condition of a curfew between 9am and 5pm at his home address for which he will be tagged and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
After the hearing HSE inspector, Andrew Cousins said: “An already worrying situation was compounded by the defendant’s unwarranted abuse of a public official and then leaving the scaffold in a perilous condition. He effectively obstructed the inspector in the exercise of her duty by his attitude, language and behaviour as well as his refusal to provide his identity or who he was working for.
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”
The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation produces a comprehensive suite of guidance relating to scaffolding health and safety. Their flagship work at height guidance document, SG4:15 ‘Preventing Falls in Scaffolding Operations’ is available for free download from NASC’s website and provides a whole raft of information that will assist duty holders to comply with their statutory duties.
Simian clients requiring additional information on scaffolding health and safety are free to contact their Account Manager for advice on 0345 602 2418.