Business partners fined after worker falls from unsafe scaffold

A scaffolder has been fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of £643 for not wearing a harness while working at height. His client, Giant Scaffolding Ltd, faced a more substantial penalty of £15,000 plus £5,000 in costs.

Two construction business partners have been fined after a sub-contractor suffered multiple fractures when he fell from an unsafe scaffold.

In December 2018, sub-contractors were installing a roof light on a boot room extension as part of the refurbishment of a house on St James Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

They were not provided with a safe route to the work area from the scaffolding, as there was a board spanning a large gap and step up from the first lift of a scaffold on to the boot room roof. The board was not secured in place.

An investigation by the HSE found the scaffold had not been inspected by a competent person every seven days and there was insufficient edge protection around the work area to prevent people falling a distance liable to cause serious injury.

Two of the partners of Orchard Construction in Kent pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

At Maidstone Magistrates’ Court, Martin Hayes was fined £2,066 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500. Timothy Hayes was fined £2,800 and similarly ordered to pay costs of £7,500.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Wellard commented: “This incident could have been so easily avoided by simply ensuring that the scaffold was inspected by a competent person every seven days and any noted deficiencies rectified.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards.”