A Hastings scaffolder has today been fined for endangering himself and others after working on a four-storey scaffold with no harness.
Hastings Magistrates’ Court heard Gareth Roser was spotted by a passing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector working without a harness at the building in East Parade, Hastings, on 14 October 2010.
The court was told when the inspector initially saw Mr Roser, who was contracting for Battle-based Giant Scaffolding Ltd, he was approximately eight metres in the air, balancing on scaffolding tubes. However, it emerged that harnesses were available for the workers to use in their van.
Well-established industry guidance requires scaffolders to wear and use a fall arrest harness when more than four metres above ground without a safe platform to stand on and edge protection in place.
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.
The court was also told that Giant Scaffolding had repeatedly failed to reply to written questions put to them by the inspector despite a number of warnings.
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.
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.”