Bricklayer died in fall from scaffold erected by untrained workmen
Chestnut Homes Ltd has been fined and a site manager sentenced to community service after a bricklayer fell to his death from dangerous scaffolding. Justin Gillman, aged 26 and from Lincolnshire, died when he fell from a scaffold platform whilst working on a residential building site in Skegness on 26 February 2010.
Lincoln Crown Court heard (5 September) that HSE identified serious safety failings including:
- allowing untrained people to build scaffolding;
- failing to check scaffolding was safe for use; and
- failing to ensure the safety of workers once it was in use.
The court was told that Mr Gillman and a colleague were told by site manager Peter Tute to extend scaffolding around the walls of a block of terraced houses. The men were not qualified to do the work nor did they have any experience of erecting scaffolding.
HSE established that Mr Tute did not provide instructions on how to build the scaffolding and left the men to improvise and get on with it. The platform constructed was not fitted with a guard-rail.
The structure was a different height to existing scaffolding on the rest of the plots making it unsafe and posing a “clear risk”. A Scaffold Inspection Record for the site stated the whole scaffold was inspected on the day Mr Gillman died and was adjudged as being safe by Mr Tute.
Mr Gillman fell from the platform whilst he was pulling a band of 80 bricks on a trolly along the scaffold. He fell backwards from the end of the unsafe scaffold where there was no guard rail. The band of bricks landed on him and he died at the scene of his injuries.
Principal contractors must ensure robust systems are implemented
Chestnut Homes Ltd of Wragby Road, Langworth, Lincoln were fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Mr Peter Tute, 50, of Donington Park, Lincoln, was ordered to carry out 240 hours community service after pleading guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The court will determine the amount of costs to be paid at a later date.
Justin’s father, Alan Gillman, added:
“If something positive can come from this case, and Justin’s death, it’s that I just hope people will be prepared to say ‘no’ to their employer if they’re asked to do something they’re not trained to do, or it wouldn’t be safe for them to do.”
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Richard Lockwood said:
“Before entrusting tasks to workers, principal contractors and site managers must ensure they are competent to do the task being given to them. There needs to be adequate control over scaffolding to ensure that it is and remains safe and fit for the purpose.
Principal contractors must have robust systems that ensure that their policies and procedures are implemented properly on their sites.”