Scaffolders death
Roger Stoddern

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed recently that two scaffolders from St. Austell, Cornwall have both received suspended prison sentences following the death of Roger Stoddern, 47, who fell seven metres to his death from the flat roof of a property in St. Mawes, Cornwall.

Scaffolders death
Image of where Roger Stoddern fell 7m to his death

According to HSE, Stoddern was stacking 3m roofing sheets on the flat roof without edge protection on 24 June 2013 while scaffolding was being dismantled. Stoddern survived the fall and was taken to Derriford Hospital where he died three weeks later because of his severe injuries.

HSE said Truro Crown Court heard that the safety railing around the flat roof had been removed to facilitate the stacking of roofing sheets. The court also heard how one of the defendants replaced the safety rail following Stoddern’s fall to cover up the cause of the incident.

During HSE’s and Devon and Cornwall Police’s investigation HSE said it was found that, “Colin Marshall Scaffolding was not qualified to erect the scaffolding and there was evidence no personal protective equipment, such as harnesses, was used. The condition of the scaffolding also failed to meet current safety standards.”

HSE said founder of the business, Colin Marshall of St. Austell pleaded guilty to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two-years. James Marshall, also of St Austell, Colin’s son and business partner was handed an eight-month sentence suspended for two-years. The pair were ordered to pay costs of £25,661.

In a statement HSE inspector said, “Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in Great Britain and businesses have to take the safety of their workers seriously. Colin Marshall and James Marshall are responsible for the death of Roger Stoddern. It was entirely preventable and should not have happened. The risks of working at height are known. Scaffolders must ensure they use the right protective equipment and have sufficient edge protection in place to prevent workers falling.”