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SCAFFOLDING CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED OVER DEATH

Owner failed to ensure site safety and made ‘faked’ method statement 

The proprietor of a Bristol scaffolding company has been prosecuted following the death of an employee who fell from a temporary roof he was dismantling.

Shaun Stevens, 41, fell about four metres while deconstructing a temporary corrugated sheet roof at Flooks Scaffolding in Bristol, on 4 October 2006. He suffered serious head injuries as a result of his fall and was taken to hospital, where he died 12 days later.

The offences related to poor health and safety management practices, and an attempt to fake a method statement for the work. Inspectors asked for this key safety plan following the fall – but were given a document written the day after the incident.

Safer temporary roof systems should be considered

Russell Lee Flook pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc in that he failed to ensure the safety of his employees and Section 33(1)(k) of the Health and Safety at Work etc., Act 1974 in that he made a statement knowing it to be false. Mr Flook was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Sue Adsett, said:

“Corrugated tin temporary roofs are inherently dangerous to erect and dismantle. Employers need to reconsider how they do this work and not just repeat how they have done it in the past. There are now safer ways of working to be considered, using different materials and technologies.

All employers have a duty to protect their employees and contractors. It is up to the scaffolding employer to make sure there is a safe system of work for erecting and dismantling temporary roofs and not leave the arrangements to workers.

The law has changed over recent years with the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and employers need to make sure that they are fully aware of their duties.”

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