Scaffolder who abused HSE inspector handed suspended sentence and tagged
Thursday 5th July 2018
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
Steven Connolly was erecting a two-lift scaffold on the front of a house in Kent for the installation of solar roof panels.
On 19 August 2016 a HSE inspector drove past the site on her way to work when she observed Connolly working without a safety harness and with no advanced guardrails or scaffolders' safe zone.
When she instructed Connolly to work in accordance with NASC guidance SG4:15, he subjected her to a torrent of abuse.
HSE inspector Andrew Cousins, who led the investigation, told IOSH Magazine: "The language he used was read out verbatim in court and doesn't make for very pleasant reading."
Cousins said the worker then "compounded the situation" by driving away and leaving the scaffolding incomplete.
"This was his way of further disrespecting authority," the inspector said. "And we're talking about the installation of some guardrails which is five to ten minutes' work tops. You might sometimes have an exchange of words with someone for a few minutes because it's a very macho culture but, in the end, they know it's in their best interest to comply."
He added: "We've got photographic evidence that the solar panel fitters had worked on the incomplete scaffold. They could have had a fall; they expect to turn up with the scaffold ready and just get on with their job. Fortunately, no one was injured."
Connolly pleaded guilty to breaching regs 6(3) and 8(a) of the Work at Height Regulations, which cover, respectively, preventing falls from a distance and the need for guardrails or toe boards on scaffolds. He was sentenced at Medway Magistrates' Court to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.
Connolly's obstruction of the inspector was considered an aggravating factor by the court and he must wear an electronic tag for six months -- the maximum permitted under a curfew order. He is living at his girlfriend's address in Surrey between 9am and 5pm because he now works night shifts for another scaffolding firm.
Cousins said: "We're disappointed we had to resort to this level of action but we're not going to tolerate this type of abuse of an inspector. People have a responsibility for their own safety and for those who could be affected by their actions."
Manchester Crown Court was told that Riaz Ahmad had hired a group of workers, who had no experience in construction, to demolish a property in Oldham. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector visited the site on 11 August 2017 after it received a phone call from Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’s building control department. The inspector found almost all the internal walls and roof supports had been removed and served a prohibition notice on Ahmad preventing any further work and closed a major road that ran past the building.
Southwark Crown Court was told that Kier Facilities Services had commissioned leak detection firm JHH Engineering to locate and repair a leak that had been identified on a flat roof at Downsell Primary School in Leyton.While carrying out the work on 1 December 2014, an employee of JHH fell. He has been left with severe cognitive effects including memory loss and mood changes, and a reduced ability to care for himself.
The GMB union said it filed an FOI on 9 April after the Met admitted that officers from its special branch units secretly infiltrated trade unions and passed on information to blacklisting organisation the Consulting Association. The request required the force’s full internal investigation report and all emails relating to it, as well as details of overt and covert meetings between officers and members of blacklisting organisations, the union said.
The UK’s health secretary Jeremy Hunt said 465 ambulances and their paramedics will be equipped with the cameras as part of a pilot scheme, with the potential for a full roll out to all ambulance staff. More than 15% of National Health Service (NHS) workers said they had been physically attacked by their patients or patients’ families over the past year. Figures show that 354 people have been prosecuted for assaulting paramedics but estimates suggest the total number of incidents is much higher.
The plan, which maps out action over the next 12 months, identifies four priority areas.Under leading and engaging with others to improve OSH, the HSE plans to deliver the next phase of the Health and Work programme, with a focus on work-related stress, reducing levels of occupational lung disease and musculoskeletal disorders.In Q4, the HSE says it will publish revised guidance for employers on how to assess and manage work-related mental ill health, which includes links to the new mental healthcare standards.
The figures are based on around 10,000 building site inspections carried out by the construction safety body between January and June this year.They show there were 1,064 work at height and edge protection failings in the first three months of 2018, compared with 1,200 in the second quarter. The total number of failings logged for the whole of 2017 was 4,511, down from 4,568 recorded in 2016.