A scaffolder has been prosecuted after he repeatedly allowed unsafe work at height to be carried out on a busy London street.

Greg Pearson, from Enfield, trading as ‘Pearsons Scaffolding’, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a member of the public raised concerns about scaffolding work being carried out on Tavistock Street in central London.

She was so concerned for the safety of passers-by and workers on the fifteen metre high scaffold that three separate complaints including photographs and videos were passed to HSE.

HSE visited the site twice and found the incomplete scaffold to be poorly erected and unsafe work practices were putting workers at risk. No measures had been taken to prevent any falling scaffolding equipment hitting members of the public below.

HSE served a Prohibition Notice ordering work to be stopped until the scaffold was made safe, but Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Pearson ignored this and other warnings, carrying on regardless.

The court also heard Pearson failed to respond when required to produce documents for inspection during the investigation, hindering the HSE’s efforts to ensure future work was carried out safely at other sites. Pearsons Scaffolding’s involvement at the site only ended when a second Prohibition Notice was served and the project’s Principal Contractor decided to take on another scaffolder to complete the work.

Greg Pearson, 33, of South Street, Enfield, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (6(3), 10(1)) and was given two suspended prison sentences of 10 weeks to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £80.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said:

“Greg Pearson repeatedly put the lives of other workers and members of the public at risk. He blatantly disregarded all warnings and enforcement action taken against him and it was just good fortune that no one was killed.

It’s vital that law abiding scaffolders have confidence they will not lose work to others who underquote them because they take shortcuts at the expense of safety.

This case should send a message to other scaffolders that Courts will sentence robustly even when the reckless working practices have thankfully not resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.

“I applaud the member of the public who alerted us to this as thankfully we were able to avoid the workers or the public being injured or killed. We encourage people to report unsafe work to us so we can act to protect workers and the public.”

83 COMMENTS

  1. If it’s hos choice to work like that and he has made sure he won’t hurt anyone else, then yes I would tell his family with a clean concience. Its how we all used to work until the goody goodies started telling us how we should do things for our own safety. I was as safe in those days, always aware of which way to fall if I slipped or what to grab. Now days we clip on and rely on that to save us and to be honeat I have had more near misses by tripping over my lanyard than I ever got by working old school.

  2. Nothing to do with no what ur doing with hi viz and helmet. What the problem is people thinking there the best and cutting corners thinking there invincible.!. Muppets that’s what pricks like this are.!. Deserves to be banned and fined. 21 years I’ve been scaffolding, don’t get me wrong I’ve been caught by health and safety but not at that height. Stupid deserves everything he gets.!.

  3. All the guys saying thats how real scaffs do it make me laugh. No thats how it used to be done. Them days are gone get over it. H+s is here to stay so get used to it and crack on. You dont get paid when your dead

  4. If it’s done correctly and safely you should never get injured….. The only 2 people I know that have ever fell both tripped on their lanyards I’ve never knows anyone to fall not wearing one….. If scaffolding is erected correctly and safely u shouldn’t need harnesses in my opinion

  5. So glad I started when scaffolders were real scaffolders and had the chance to work as scaffolders used to. The game is totally destroyed now you need a lorry to cart your ppe around now loooool.

  6. He should have been done for it. I remember those days and remember all the accidents too.
    After working on industrial side of scaffolding the standard of work is higher so too is safety.
    It is about time firms started to take note of quality of work and safety, see too many rough jobs and bad practices.

  7. Never mind how all you ‘real’ scaffs used to work back in the day. They days are gone. You want to be the one telling this guys family he died if he fell? Times have moved on dinosaurs.