Two companies have been fined a total of £400,000 for breaches of health and safety legislation that resulted in the death of a stonemason’s labourer at a Glasgow construction site.
James Kelly, a labourer employed by Stirling Stone Ltd, was working on the third level of a loading tower of scaffolding that had been erected as part of construction work taking place at Glasgow Academy, Colebrook Street, Glasgow. Stirling Stone had been contracted as stonemasons on the site by Robertson Construction Central Ltd.
On 26 April 2007, Mr Kelly fell to the ground from the scaffold loading tower platform. He died later from his injuries. A single guard rail was found on the ground close to where Mr Kelly was discovered.
Following the incident, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that there was no safe system of work in place for loading materials onto the loading tower, nor had a suitable assessment of the risks involved been made. The investigation also revealed that the loading tower did not have sufficient guard rails and toe boards and that neither company had ensured that the tower and access scaffolding was properly inspected on a regular basis.
Both companies were found guilty of health and safety breaches at an earlier trial. At Glasgow Sheriff Court, Robertson Construction Central Ltd of Perimeter Road, Elgin, Moray, was fined £200,000 for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. 1974 Act. Stirling Stone Ltd was fined £200,000 for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
John Shelton, HSE Inspector for Construction, said:
“What happened to Mr Kelly was entirely preventable and would not have happened if the proper steps had been taken.
“Loading up operations at scaffold loading towers are repeated on construction sites across Scotland probably thousands of times a day.
“There is no excuse for the contractors not to have agreed procedures as to how this work was to be done and ensured that this routine work was carried out safely.
“Where vital edge protection is removed temporarily to allow loading up to take place steps must be taken to ensure persons cannot fall during that work.”
Lighthouse Safety can assist any company that wish to maintain a safe working place, especially with regard to working at height, as this continues to be the main source of death at work, ideally work at height should be avoided, however if this cannot be achieved then a suitable work platform should be provided from which to conduct the work, failing this once last option remains, which is that of mitigation, which aims to reduce the result of any fall, hence the use of harnesses, nets and air bags etc should be the last consideration for any work at height.
Call us to discuss your preferred options of working at height and keeping your staff safe.