Trainee Scaffolder Fatality Caused by Poor Safety Management

The co-directors of a former London scaffolding firm have been prosecuted after a trainee worker fell to his death from a poorly constructed scaffold. *****, aged 20, sustained multiple head injuries in the 6m fall at Whitehall Place in 2008 and he died in hospital the following day.

Southwark Crown Court heard that HSE found serious failings with the structure and with their management of the work taking place on it. Sonny was working as a Trainee Scaffolder when he fell backwards through a opening in the scaffold as he was dragging a ladder beam backwards to pass to a workmate.

There was nothing in place to prevent or mitigate his fall, he was inadequately supervised and had received no formal training for working safely at height.

Sentence not a “measure of the life” of the deceased

Summing up at Southwark Crown Court Judge Taylor said both directors were “equally culpable in respect to this incident” and that the sentence imposed was “not a measure of the life of ***”.

  • Both were fined a total £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs after being found guilty of two separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. B

After sentencing, HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented:

“Work at height on scaffolds is inherently fraught with risk, and it is vital that scaffolds are properly erected, adequately safeguarded and that all work is carefully controlled, managed and supervised.

It is important we secured justice in bringing this case to court, and we will continue to prosecute when clear safety failings are identified. As the offences here relate to 2008, the Judge was unable to use the current sentencing powers, which include possible imprisonment.”

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