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Prosecutions follow fatal scaffolding fall

17th June 2019

A scaffolding firm and a roofing contractor have been fined after a worker died following a fall through a fragile roof during construction work at a factory in Staffordshire.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how on 19 September 2015, at the Norton Aluminium foundry site in Norton Canes, a scaffold company employee was fatally injured after falling approximately 11.5 metres through a fragile roof. The employee was working on the asbestos cement roof to move and fit temporary scaffold guardrails as part of a roof refurbishment project at the site.

fatal scaffolding fall

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company owner failed to ensure the health and safety of his employees in relation to the work taking place on the fragile roof at the site. The investigation also found that a roofing contractor who was in overall control of the roof refurbishment project, failed to ensure that people not in its employment were not exposed to risks arising from work on the fragile roof.

The owner of the scaffolding business pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years, 180 hours of unpaid community service and ordered to pay costs of £14,000.

The Stourbridge-based roofing contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined in excess of £41,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Bowker said:

“Falls through fragile roof materials remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities during construction work. These risks are well known, and the required control measures well documented in both HSE and industry guidance. This was a tragic and wholly avoidable accident that led to the death of a young man. This death could easily have been prevented if suitable safe systems of work had been in place.”

Simian clients requiring advice on any aspect of work at height, including fragile roof work or scaffolding edge protection installation are free to contact us for advice through the usual channels,, or via telephone on 0345 6022418.