A 28-year-old scaffolder has been sentenced to six months in prison after being spotted by a passerby on a 60 foot high scaffold board with no safety measures to prevent him falling to the ground.
This week, Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 30 June 2017, Terrance Murray was seen helping to erect a scaffold precariously standing on the topmost scaffold board by a concerned member of the public. Photographs were taken of Murray standing on top of the scaffold in Quay Street, Manchester, with no edge protection and although he was wearing a harness – it was not attached to any part of the scaffold or building.
The fall height was estimated at between 13 and 18 metres. If he had fallen from this height into the concrete deck of the car park below it is certain he would have plummeted to his own death. In addition his fall could have also caused the other scaffolders working on the construction to be injured or fall, as well as putting members of the public below in danger.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Murray’s employers had taken reasonable steps to avoid working unsafely at height.
Inexplicably, Terence Murray was well trained and experienced, and had the correct safety equipment available to him, but had simply not clipped on his harness. He acted alone against his better interest and training to work without edge protection and safety measures in place. Murray was also accompanied by a trainee scaffolder at the time – setting a dangerous example.
Mr Terrance Murray of Largs Road, Blackburn pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for one year and 100 hours of community service. Mr Murray was also ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £115.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Seve Gomez-Aspron said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and should be taken seriously.
“This case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to erect scaffolding in a safe manner, which does not cause risk to members of the public and workers using the scaffold. It also serves to remind employees that they have a duty to look after themselves.”