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Scaffolder who worked 60ft in air with nothing to stop him falling avoids jail

A scaffolder worked 60ft in the air with nothing to stop him plummeting to the ground in what has been described as a ‘moment of stupidity’.

Terrance Murray wore a harness only that wasn’t attached to anything.

The ‘daredevil’ was caught on camera and has been given a suspended jail sentence after risking his own safety and the safety of others.

Murray was photographed on a plank of wood without a safety rail as he worked on a building in Manchester city centre, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The 27-year-old managed to get down without a problem – only to find out later that a former health and safety inspector had taken this picture.

He has been handed a 26-week suspended jail sentence for the dangerous stunt after he admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Appearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court , Murray was told his actions on June 30 had not only put his own safety at risk, but that of others.

Murray was erecting scaffolding at the back of the Grade II-listed Sunlight House, Manchester, ahead of work to renovate windows.

He was seen standing on planks without having first erected a rail to stop him falling, as required by law.

The court heard he was wearing a safety harness, but it was not connected to anything.

Prosecuting, Seb Gomez said Murray had been given the correct safety equipment and was not under pressure to carry out the work quickly.

“We believe it would have been more than reasonable to expect Mr Murrary to follow his ample training and eight to nine years of experience to carry out his job correctly rather than deliberately cut corners for what was in effect, little real gain other than time,” he added.

During an interview with Health and Safety Executive officials, Murray described his actions as a ‘moment of stupidity’.

Defending, Gareth Price said: “There is no evidence of this being part of endemic practice.

“It appears to be a one-off moment of stupidity.”

Sentencing, District Judge Mark Hadfield, said he was satisfied Murray had shown ‘genuine remorse’ for his actions.

He added: “The immediate risk you were creating was to your own safety and to that of others.

“If you were to lose balance the risk was others could have been injured, potentially fatally.”

Murray, from Blackburn, who no longer works as a scaffolder, was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

He will be required to complete 100 hours community service and was ordered to pay £615 in costs and victim surcharge.

Matt Greenly, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, said: “This result goes to show the HSE will prosecute where we see people being put at risk or killed.

“We are grateful to the court for recognising that, while no one was hurt, the potential risk of harm or death was very real.

“A momentary slip of concentration for even the best people can kill if there is nothing to catch you.

“It was fortunate this man was spotted by a health and safety professional.”


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