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Suspended Sentences Following Scaffolder Death in Church Collapse

19th April 2022

In December we reported on manslaughter charges for four people following a 2017 incident that resulted in the death of a Scaffolder at a church collapse in South Wales. Following an 11-week trial that found the men guilty of lesser charges which included criminal health and safety offences, March saw them receive suspended sentences and significant fines.

Scaffolder death following church collapse
Image Credit: Rob Browne / WalesOnline

The sentences included:

  • A 45-week sentence, suspended for 18 months, plus costs of £66,000
  • A 39-week sentence, suspended for 15 months, plus costs of £25,000
  • A 36-week sentence, suspended for 15 months, plus costs of £20,000
  • A 35-week sentence, suspended for 15 months, plus costs of £20,000

Speaking following the hearing, Liam Osborne, HSE Inspector, stated:

“[The tragic incident occurred] because people were put to work on a scaffold against a towering stone wall that managers, safety professionals and contractors knew, or could see, was obviously unstable before work started. 

The demolition and scaffolding were badly planned and dangerously carried out from the very beginning, and throughout the job. Instead of the building being made safer as demolition progressed, it became even more unstable.  Those people who made bad decisions, gave poor advice, or failed to act in the face of extreme and obvious risk have now been held accountable.

I sincerely hope that the scaffolding, demolition and consultancy industries in Wales and beyond take time to learn from this terrible tragedy. Pre-work planning, choosing remote methods of demolition, sharing critical information between parties and putting in a system of managed checks would have prevented this incident.”

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