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Worker who gave HSE inspector torrent of abuse prosecuted

3 July 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A scaffolder who subjected an HSE inspector to a "torrent of abuse" when she observed him employing unsafe working practices while erecting scaffolding has been prosecuted.

Steven David Connolly was working on a site in Chartham, Kent, when the inspector made the observations.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found he was working unsafely and putting himself at serious risk of falling from the scaffold under construction.

He ignored the inspector's interjections, refusing to work safely and instead directed abuse at the inspector, before leaving the scaffold in an unsafe and incomplete condition with no warning for subsequent users.

Connolly, of Greenacres, Lower Kingswood, Surrey, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

He was sentenced to 24 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. He has also been subject to the condition of a curfew between 9am and 5pm at his home address for which he will be tagged and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector, Andrew Cousins said: "An already worrying situation was compounded by the defendant’s unwarranted abuse of a public official and then leaving the scaffold in a perilous condition. He effectively obstructed the inspector in the exercise of her duty by his attitude, language and behaviour as well as his refusal to provide his identity or who he was working for.

"Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known."

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