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    TOWER DEFECTS AND UNSAFE SYSTEM CAUSED DEATH

    Maintenance supervisor fell to his death through roof opening

    A company has been prosecuted after a maintenance worker died after he fell 5m through a roof opening on 23rd September 2015.

    Folkstone Magistrates Court heard that Justin Hewitt fell through the opening that was being created on the roof of the premises of Maidstone Studios Ltd.

    HSE investigators found the tower scaffold used to access the roof was damaged and was incorrectly erected. The towers had been purchased second hand by the company without manufacturer assembly instructions.

    No formal planning had been recorded for the work, which was outside the scope of the general maintenance duties of the team.

    The work was discussed, and planned to be carried out from below, but no-one identified the errors with the towers which included, ladder sections the “wrong way round”, damaged bracing and inadequate guardrails.

    Proper planning, equipment and training required

    The towers were erected by Mr Hewitt who lacked any formal training on how they should be erected safely. He was supervising the work but no checks were made of how it was actually being carried out.

    • Maidstone Studios Ltd – pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,487.76.

    HSE inspector Stephen Green said:

    “Had the work been properly planned with suitable access equipment, correctly placed and erected, by those with adequate training, the work could have been done safely and this tragedy could have been averted.

    Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

     

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