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    CONTRACTOR FINE FOLLOWS CLIENT CONVICTION

    Fatal fragile roof fall found to be responsibility of both client and contractor

    Following a lengthy trial, Special Access Inspection (Boyd Lamont T/A) has been fined after Thomas Sturrock (aged 32) fell to his death through the fragile roof of a warehouse occupied by Tullis Russell Papermaker Ltd in Fife, Scotland on 29th September 2008.

    Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard (2 Nov) that Mr Sturrock and other workmen were cleaning the roof when the surface failed under his weight causing him to fall over 14m to the concrete floor below. He died of his injuries at the scene.

    The court heard that Special Access Inspection failed to properly assess the risks and did not provide appropriate safety equipment e.g. staging to support a persons weight. At the conclusion of a trial the company admitted failing to ensure employees were not exposed to risks and failing to provide equipment, information, instruction, training and supervision or a safe system of work.

    Defendant “completely and utterly” failed in duty that cost a young man his life

    Special Access Inspection (Boyd Lamont T/A) was fined £20,000 for breaches of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. At an earlier hearing Tullis Russell, the owners of the site, were fined £260,000 in relation to the death of Mr Sturrock.

    Following the case, Elaine Taylor, Head of the COPFS Health and Safety Division, said:

     “This tragic death could have been avoided if Boyd Lamont had properly assessed the risks associated with the work on the roof, and ensured that his men had were properly trained, resourced and equipped to carry out this work safely. Work at height involves significant risks and as an employer, Boyd Lamont had a duty to assess and mitigate them. He completely and utterly failed to do so, and that cost a young man his life.

     The charges that Boyd Lamont faced are (if committed after 16 January 2009) now punishable by imprisonment if committed by an individual. Duty holders should be aware of the potential consequences for them of failing in relation to their health and safety obligations. Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Thomas Sturrock”

     

    In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has sole responsibility for the raising of criminal proceedings for breaches of health and safety legislation and deals with all health and safety prosecutions and any Fatal Accident Inquiries requiring specialist health and safety input.

    Mac Young, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, said: 

    “The contractor failed to properly assess the well known risks from working on or near fragile roof surfaces. This was the worst example I have ever come across due to the total lack of safety measures on the roof. “

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