Contractor fined after worker dies in fall from height

A contractor has been fined £25,000 after one of its workers died after falling almost 2 metres.

According to the  the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Mark Tolley was helping to construct six houses in Kent when he fell through an “unguarded opening” in the scaffold.

He was installing vertical hanging tiles on one of the properties when he fell 1.8 metres on 5 July 2017, according to the HSE investigation.

Tolley, aged 51, suffered several broken ribs and serious internal injuries including a punctured lung, and died on 13 July 2017.

The HSE told Maidstone Nightingale Court in January that main contractor Amberly Homes (Kent) Ltd had not appointed anyone to the site with the skills, knowledge, experience or training to manage the construction, and that it “did not control the site effectively”.

“Nightingale” courts were set up by the government as one of a range of measures to increase capacity and alleviate the pressure on courts and tribunals during the Covid pandemic. They have continued to operate.

In the Maidstone court case, the HSE also said that Amberly failed to act when its safety consultant raised concerns over the risk of a fall from the scaffold.

“The company had not ensured that a safe working platform on the scaffold was maintained throughout the different phases of the project,” the HSE said in a statement released after the case.

The safety body’s investigation also found access to the first lift working platform was unsafe because there were multiple openings in the floor that were unguarded.

The regulator said this meant there was a “significant risk” of workers falling from the working platform.

The company pleaded guilty to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. In addition to the fine, it was ordered to pay £83,842.34 in costs.

HSE principal inspector Ross Carter said: “This tragic death could have been so easily avoided by implementing suitable site management to ensure that the scaffold was appropriately adapted by competent persons for the needs of the different subcontractors.

“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards and do not plan, manage and monitor the construction phase effectively.”

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