On 30 June 2017, 28 year old scaffolder Mr Terrance Murray was witnessed by a concerned member of the public unsafely erecting a scaffold in Quay Street, Manchester. Photographs were taken of him whilst he did so, and it shows him between 13-18 metres up without suitable safety measures such as a edge protection or a safety harness. Accompanied at the time by a junior scaffolder, he was also setting a bad example to the untrained worker, and a fall for either of them at this height for either of them would have resulted in many dangerous and possibly fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that Murray had received all the relevant training and experience and was given the correct equipment – he acted alone in his choice to work this way against his own better judgement. Pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for one year and 100 hours of community service. On top of this he was ordered to pay costs £500 and a victim surcharge of £115.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Seve Gomez-Aspron stated that: “This case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to erect scaffolding in a safe manner, which does not cause risk to members of the public and workers using the scaffold. It also serves to remind employees that they have a duty to look after themselves.”