Scaffolder prosecuted after member of the public captured safety failings

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Major safety failings captured by a member of the public on film have led to the prosecution of a scaffold firm…

Pearsons Scaffolding was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a member of the public caught safety failings on camera.

The work, which was being carried out at Tavistock Street, central London, looked so dangerous it was filmed and reported to the HSE on three separate occasions.

Greg Pearson, of Pearsons Scaffolding was issued a Prohibition Notice after two HSE visits to the site found the scaffold to be poorly erected and unsafe. No measures had been taken to prevent any falling equipment from hitting members of the public below.

Despite being issued the notice to stop work until safety measures were enacted, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told Pearson failed to act and carried on working regardless. Additionally, he failed to produce documents for inspection during the investigation, which hindered the HSE’s efforts to ensure future work was carried out safely at other sites.

After a second Prohibition Notice was served the Principal Contractor on the project took on another scaffolder to complete the work.

Pearson pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (6(3), 10(1)). He was issued two suspended prison sentences of 10 weeks to run concurrently, which were 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.”

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