Worker dies from a fall – another work at height tragedy

Two scaffolders from St Austell, Cornwall have received suspended prison sentences following a death of a worker who fell seven metres to his death. RS (aged 47) was dismantling scaffolding when he fell from a flat roof of a building in St Mawes. He was taken to Derriford Hospital but died three weeks later due to the severity of his injuries.

Truro Crown Court heard how RS was stacking 3m roofing sheets on the flat roof of the property without any edge protection. The safety railing had been removed to allow access to the flat roof so the sheets could be stacked. The court also heard how one of the defendants replaced the safety rail following the incident to cover up the cause of the incident.

The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation, alongside Devon and Cornwall police found that Colin Marshall Scaffolding was not qualified to erect the scaffolding, and there was evidence no personal protective equipment, such as harnesses, was used. The condition of the scaffolding also failed to meet current safety standards. Another worker dies from a fall; another family suffers the loss of a loved one.

Colin Marshall, of St Austell, founder of the business pleaded guilty to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years. James Marshall (Colin’s son and business partner) was handed an eight-month sentence suspended for two years. They were ordered to pay costs of £25,661.

HSE inspector said,

“Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in Great Britain and businesses have to take the safety of their workers seriously. Colin Marshall and James Marshall are responsible for the death of RS. It was entirely preventable and should not have happened. The risks of working at height are known. Scaffolders must ensure they use the right protective equipment and have sufficient edge protection in place to prevent workers falling.”

All too often we report that another Worker dies from a fall – like this one, most of them are avoidable

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