Scaffolding firm fined over worker deaths

A scaffolding firm has been fined £30,000 following the death of one of its workers.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted a scaffolding company, Crowe Fabrications Ltd, following an investigation into a fatal incident on 12 July 2002. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,000.

Joseph Phillips from Mitcham was killed and Leigh Williams from Wandsworth was seriously injured when the scaffold rig they were dismantling became unbalanced and fell approximately 60 feet into the street.

Falls from height are the most common cause of fatal injury and the second most common cause of major injury to employees, accounting for 15% of all such injuries. All industry sectors are exposed to the risks presented by this hazard although the level of incidence varies considerably.

HSE inspector Kevin Shorten said: “The tragic events illustrate the point that while scaffolders work to provide a safe environment for other trades to operate in, their own work remains inherently dangerous if it is not properly planned and carried out, especially during dismantling work.

Crowe Plant Fabrications, of Earlsfield, London, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing on 6 January 2005 to breaching Section 2(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 10(1) of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996. Today the company was fined £15,000 for the former breach and £15,000 for the latter.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

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