Information bite 225: Scaffolder prosecuted over fatal fall

A roofer and scaffolder have been prosecuted after a 2nd roofer died after falling from a scaffold at a two-storey terraced house.

Two roofers were working on a property in Wimbledon, South London when the incident happened in 2018. The pair were accessing the roof via a scaffold erected by someone who was unqualified and using equipment that fell short of industry standards and legal requirements.

An HSE investigation found the main roofer (Roofer A) was responsible for the work and allowed for it to go ahead despite the large gap in the scaffold. It also discovered that Roofer A was inadequately trained to manage health and safety at the site.

The 2nd roofer fell through a gap in the scaffolding and died almost immediately.

Both Roofer A and the scaffolder were found guilty and fined £5,000 + costs.

An HSE Inspector said: ‘Preventative measures were inexpensive and required little time or effort. Reducing the size of the opening in the guard rails and installing a self-closing scaffold gate would have stopped this man from falling to his death. A scaffold gate costs around £40 and only takes a few minutes to install.

‘Those involved in scaffolding and roof work on smaller sites need to be aware of the potentially devastating consequences of failing to put basic safeguards in place.’

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