Periodically, we feature guest posts related to Health & Safety, with this one being from Asons Solicitors …
Asons Solicitors warn of Health and Safety Negligence risks after Scaffolding Firm Fine
A North West scaffolding firm has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in fines and costs following the death of an employee who plunged 13 metres through the roof of a Skelmersdale warehouse.
Tony Causby, 42, was helping to dismantle scaffolding when he stepped onto a fragile skylight and fell to the floor below.
Atherton-based S&S Scaffolding Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over serious safety breaches following an investigation into the incident at the warehouse in December 2010.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Mr Causby had erected the scaffolding at the end of October. He later returned to the site on December 14 to dismantle the scaffolding, although he was contracted by S&S Scaffolding as a labourer not a scaffolder.
He had just returned to the roof with another labourer after his break when he stepped on a skylight, which as a result of the pressure, immediately gave way. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The court was told there were around 80 fragile skylights on one half of the roof, but the company failed to arrange for covers to be put on the skylights nearest to where its employees were working to prevent them falling through.
Commenting on the incident, Suzanne Yates, an Asons Executive stated that;
“Falls at work are the biggest cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry, with falls through fragile surfaces accounting for a fifth of the fatalities. Unfortunately in this incident the employee has died as a result of his injuries. Accidentsat work like these could be easily avoided if the correct health and safety procedures had been implemented.”
S&S Scaffolding Ltd pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company, of Arley Way in Atherton, was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £31,517 in prosecution costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jacqueline Western said: “Mr Causby died because S&S Scaffolding didn’t do enough to protect him from the risks of working at height, despite being a specialist scaffolding firm and being fully aware of the dangers of falls.
It would have been relatively easy to cover the fragile skylights near to where the employees were working to prevent anyone from falling through if they accidently stepped on one.
Alternatively, netting or crash mats could have been provided under the skylights to reduce the chance of a worker being injured if they fell.
Sadly, none of these options were chosen by S&S Scaffolding and Mr Causby lost his life as a result.”