Fatal Scaffolding Fall Leads to Hefty Fine for Firm

A Kent-based construction firm faces a fine and costs totalling over £100,000 following a tragic incident on a Kent building site.

A Kent-based construction firm faces a fine and costs totalling over £100,000 following a tragic incident on a Kent building site.

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd has been fined after a fatal accident. Mark Tolley, a 51-year-old subcontractor, died following a fall from scaffolding at a building site in Headcorn, Kent. 

The incident occurred on 5 July 2017, leading to Tolley sustaining critical injuries, from which he later died on 13 July 2017.

Tolley was engaged in the installation of vertical hanging tiles on one of the six houses being constructed on Smarden Road when he fell 1.8 meters through an unguarded opening in the scaffold. 

The injuries he sustained were severe, including multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung, which ultimately proved fatal.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Tolley’s fall. Their findings revealed significant safety oversights by Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd, the principal contractor for the Smarden Road project. The investigation highlighted the company’s failure to appoint personnel with the necessary qualifications and experience to manage the construction site effectively. 

It was also found that the firm did not maintain the scaffolding as a safe working platform throughout the project’s various phases, exposing workers to significant risks.

“This tragic incident could have been easily avoided had there been adequate site management to ensure the scaffold was suitably adapted to meet the needs of the different subcontractors working on the project,” said HSE principal inspector Ross Carter. “The failure to do so has had the most severe consequences.”

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd admitted to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 at a trial. The company was subsequently fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £83,842.34 in costs at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on 15 March 2024.

This case serves as a poignant reminder of the critical need for rigorous adherence to safety standards in the construction industry. “Principal contractors have a duty to plan, manage, and monitor the construction phase of a project effectively,” Carter highlighted. 

“The HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who fall short of the required standards.”