A scaffolder could be jailed after being unknowingly photographed by a retired Health & Safety inspector.

Terrance Murray was snapped without the proper safety gear, recklessly erecting scaffolding on a six storey building.

Murray climbed down without injury but now faces up to six months in prison after admitting a single breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Unsecured harness

Although Murray was wearing a harness, the court was told it wasn’t clipped on to anything that would have stopped him falling to his death and potentially injuring someone on the ground.

In the image, Murray could be seen at least 60ft up on the top lift of the scaffolding. Ironically, the photo showed him standing on wooden planks looking directly into Crown Prosecution Service offices.

Murray also failed to erect a guardrail to stop him toppling over the side. His apprentice could be seen working just two floors below.

Failure to take reasonable care  

Murray pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care of himself as well as anyone else who may have been affected by his acts or omissions while at work.

The judge adjourned the case when Murray, who wasn’t represented by a lawyer, admitted he hadn’t realised he could go to prison.

Adjourning the case the judge suggested Murray get himself a lawyer. When Murray asked ‘What if I can’t afford it?’ the judge replied ‘That’s a matter for you. If I were you I’d get legal representation.’

The case was adjourned until February 20 to give Murray time to find a lawyer.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) said ‘The potential for his actions was the death of a young man. This is a situation which could easily have been avoided. He had all the right equipment.’

It added ‘He chose for some unknown reason to take his life in his own hands that day.’

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