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February 21, 2022

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Fines after fatal fall from scaffolding

A 54-year-old man has been fined £4,000 after being convicted of breaking health and safety laws after his father fell and died in South Gloucestershire, while working for his company.

Arthur Harbutt, 78, from Birmingham, died after falling from scaffolding at Centaurus Retail Park, South Gloucestershire, on 5 March 2018.

His son Garry Harbutt, of Oldbury, West Midlands, was convicted of an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 following a trial at Bristol Crown Court but cleared of a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

In addition, Night and Day Glaziers Ltd were fined £31,500 and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs after admitting a charge of failure to discharge a duty on 17 January.

Night and Day was contracted to refit a shop unit at the retail park when the incident happened. Both Garry and Arthur Harbutt were among a group of men moving a large glass panel up steps on a scaffolding platform, which had no internal edge protection, when Arthur Harbutt fell. He suffered severe head injuries in the fall and died later the same day in hospital.

Major Crime Investigation Officer Matthew Stokes said: “This is a tragic incident which was entirely preventable if proper protections had been put in place. This has been a terrible ordeal for Arthur Harbutt’s family and friends, and our thoughts are very much with them.”

HSE inspector, Ian Whittles, said: “Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. This tragic incident highlights the importance of appropriate planning, using scaffold designed for the purpose and the need for clear communication between scaffolder and client to keep workers safe. Our thoughts remain with Mr Harbutt’s family.”

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