Fine for scaffolder who shunned harness

A SCAFFOLDER has been fined after dangling precariously from a four-storey scaffold with no safety harness.

Gareth Roser was hauled before Hastings Magistrates Court last week after a passing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector spotted him working without a harness at a building in East Parade last October.

Roser admitted breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £750 and ordered to pay £643 in costs.

The court heard that when the HSE inspector initially saw Roser he was around eight metres in the air, balancing on scaffolding tubes without a harness.

And it later emerged that appropriate 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.

Roser, a self-employed scaffolder from St Mary’s Terrace, was contracting for Giant Scaffolding Ltd, and magistrates heard the Battle-based firm had repeatedly failed to reply to written questions put to them by the inspector despite a number of warnings.

The company, of Ringletts Farm, Whatlington Road, was also in the dock this week - pleading 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 £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 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.

“The HSE will not tolerate poor working practices and will take firm action against individuals and contractors who ignore their health and safety obligations.”