• Robert Spicer

Scaffold inspectors sentenced for false documents

Scaffold fall: serious injuries: scaffold inspectors sentenced

Health and Safety Executive v Stephen Harper and Garry Arnold (2017) Greater Manchester magistrate court, September 21

Statutory reference: s. 7 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA).

The facts

  • In March 2014 a worker was working on a re-roofing project. He stepped down from the untiled roof onto a fixed scaffold and fell through a gap between the scaffold working platform and the building. He suffered fracture injuries to his spine.

  • The scaffolding had been signed off as safe by Stephen Harper and Garry Arnold. The HSE investigation found that they had not carried out the relevant inspections and had falsified certificates to show that the scaffolding was safe for use.

The decision

Harper and Arnold were each sentenced to 170 hours community service and were ordered to pay £1500 costs under s. 7 of HSWA.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that scaffold inspectors were relied upon by workers and must be trusted. Falsely completing reports without carrying out a thorough inspection could lead to serious risks being missed and life changing accidents.

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