Black Country man fined £4,000 after his father dies in fall while working for him

A man from the Black Country has been fined £4,000 after his father fell off scaffolding and died whilst working for his company.

Centaurus Retail Park in Bristol. Photo: Google
Centaurus Retail Park in Bristol. Photo: Google

Arthur Harbutt, aged 78 and from Birmingham, fell whilst work was being carried out at a shop unit at Centaurus Retail Park in Bristol on March 5, 2018.

His son Garry Harbutt, from Oldbury, was convicted of an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 after a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

The 54-year-old was cleared of a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence by the jury and was sentenced on Monday for breaking health and safety laws.

Night and Day Glaziers Ltd – Garry Harbutt's company – was fined £31,500 and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs after he admitted a charge of failure to discharge a duty on January 17.

The company had been contracted to refit a shop unit at the retail park when the incident happened. Both men were among a group moving a large glass panel up steps on a scaffolding platform, which had no internal edge protection, when Arthur Harbutt fell.

The 78-year-old suffered severe head injuries in the fall and died later that 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."

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Ian Whittles added: "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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