Prosecution provides timely warning for families over school holidays
Construction workers are being urged not to take their children onto building sites during the school holidays after a ten-year-old boy was spotted on scaffolding in Merseyside.
HSE (Health and Safety Executive) issued the warning after the boy was photographed with his dad whilst he carried out repairs to the roof of a house up to 6m from the ground.
The 51-year-old man (who is not being named to protect the identity of his son) was prosecuted following the incident in Kirkby in February 2013. The father was ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service in the next 12 months, and to pay prosecution costs of £200.
His son was seen “shimmying” along a narrow plank on the scaffolding, gripping to the frame to prevent him falling, as he made his way towards the top of a ladder where his dad was waiting for him.
The ladder was not tall enough to reach the lowest working platform on the scaffolding – missing it by around 30cm. The builder therefore had to hold his son’s ankles and place his feet onto the rungs of the ladder to make sure he did not fall or miss his footing.
Ten-year-old boy could have been seriously injured or killed
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard the man took his son to work with him during the half term holiday and allowed him to climb the scaffolding whilst he was repairing barge boards.
The passing HSE inspector issued a formal Prohibition Notice requiring the builder to dismantle the scaffolding as it was unsafe to use. The court was told the scaffolding and ladder were unsecure and hand rails/toe-boards were missing.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said:
“We understand it can be difficult to find things to keep children occupied during the school holidays but taking them into potentially dangerous workplaces isn’t the answer.
The ten-year-old boy could easily have been seriously injured or even killed if he had slipped and fallen from the scaffolding but he trusted that his dad knew what he was doing.
The incident would have been bad enough if the scaffolding had been erected safely but it was not and, as a result, the builder put his own life at risk as well as his son’s.
Building sites have the potential to be dangerous places if the proper health and safety procedures aren’t followed, with dozens of deaths reported in the industry every year. They’re certainly no place for a ten-year-old boy.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Lighthouse Safety Comments: It is hard to believe that this actually occurred. Not only was the boy made to go to work with his Dad, but his Dad did not even make it safe for his child. It does seem a shame that the builder found it necessary for him to take his son to work, but I’m sure that there was a better solution.