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Thu October 22 2020

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Roofer fined £53k after fatal scaffold fall

16 Sep 19 A roofing contractor has been fined £53,000 after an employee fell to his death from a ladder while climbing off a scaffold tower in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that on 21st September 2016, Joseph Kane, an employee of Henderson & Aitken Limited, fell from the top rungs of a ladder when it slipped sideways on the scaffold. Mr Kane died of multiple injuries.

The scaffolding had been erected by Henderson & Aitken employees and the ladder was tied, using a blue nylon cord, to the scaffold ledger at only the left stile. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspector that carried out the investigation estimated the lateral movement of the ladder due to the lack of fixity was approximately 20cm.

The scaffold was not erected to the correct standard
The scaffold was not erected to the correct standard

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HSE learned that the Henderson & Aitken employee who had erected the scaffold was not a qualified or competent scaffolder. He had been asked to erect it by the company director who was aware he was unqualified. The director then allowed three people to access the scaffold. The scaffold was not erected to the correct standard.

Henderson & Aitken Limited of Balmoral Terrace, Aberdeen pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33(1)(c) of HSWA. It was fined £53,000.

HSE principal inspector Niall Miller said after the hearing: “This tragic and preventable death highlights the need for those undertaking work at height to ensure that it is carried out safely, that industry guidance is followed and that the relevant regulations are complied with. It is vitally important that those planning and arranging for such work give sufficient regard to the risks posed to workers and members of the public through their actions.”

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