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Sat September 25 2021

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68-year-old joiner killed in scaffold fall

25 Nov 13 A developer must pay out more than £250,000 in fines and costs after a 68-year-old joiner fell to his death from dodgy scaffolding.

Peter Winchurch, a self-employed joiner, had been hired by TRU Ltd to help build an extension to a semi-detached house on Bromilow Road in Skelmersdale when the incident happened on 9 November 2009.

TRU Ltd, which was in charge of the construction site, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the scaffolding lacked guard rails and had inadequate decking. In addition, site employees were not trained in safety, there were no risk assessments and there were no method statements.

TRU specialises in providing rehabilitation for people with brain injuries, but it also takes on some building projects.

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During a five-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court, the jury heard that Mr Winchurch had been working on the roof trusses for the extension to the house when he fell 6m from the scaffolding. He suffered critical head injuries and died in hospital the following day.

TRU Ltd, which now trades as TRU (Transitional Rehabilitation Unit) Ltd, was found guilty of two separate breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company, of Haydock Lane in Haydock, was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay a further £82,145 in prosecution costs on 22 November 2013.

HSE inspector Anthony Polec said after the hearing:  “The failings by TRU Ltd were a significant cause of Mr Winchurch’s tragic death. The scaffolding was clearly dangerous, which meant that the risk of a worker being killed or seriously injured in a fall was highly foreseeable. The safeguards required were reasonably practicable, and there is much published guidance on the subject from HSE and the construction industry.”

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