A bricklayer on a construction site has died following a fall from scaffolding which was erected by untrained workers.
The incident should serve as a warning about the need to ensure that all workers on site have received the adequate and appropriate training for the jobs they are undertaking and for work on a construction site in general.
The company involved in this incident has been fined and a site manager has been sentenced to community service after the bricklayer fell to his death from the dangerous scaffolding. This incident also highlights the responsibility held by site supervisors and the need for them to ensure workers are supervised. In this case it was the site manager who was guilty of neglecting his duty.
The tragic incident claimed the life of 26 year old Justin Gillman from Lincolnshire who fell from the scaffolding platform while working on a residential building site in February 2010. What makes this incident even more tragic is that a young man had his life cut short because of safety negligence, the incident could have been easily avoided as a post from PPConstructionSafety.com explains:
Lincoln Crown Court heard (5 September) that HSE identified serious safety failings including:
allowing untrained people to build scaffolding;
failing to check scaffolding was safe for use; and
failing to ensure the safety of workers once it was in use.
The court was told that Mr Gillman and a colleague were told by site manager Peter Tute to extend scaffolding around the walls of a block of terraced houses. The men were not qualified to do the work nor did they have any experience of erecting scaffolding.
HSE established that Mr Tute did not provide instructions on how to build the scaffolding and left the men to improvise and get on with it. The platform constructed was not fitted with a guard-rail.
The court also heard that the structure was a different height to existing scaffolding on the rest of the plots making it unsafe and posing an obvious risk which was left unaddressed. The scaffolding record was false because it showed that the scaffolding had been inspected adequately the very day that the fatal accident took place.
It was discovered that the young worker died due to the fall which occurred whilst he was pulling a load of 80 bricks on a trolley along the scaffold. He fell backwards from the end of the unsafely erected scaffold. There was no guard rail fitted to stop his fall. What made the incident even worse was that the load of bricks landed on top of the worker causing even more injuries. Sadly he died on the scene.
Principal contractors need to ensure they fulfil their duties in terms of health and safety regulations including that workers have a safe system of work and safe work environment, neither of these duties were fulfilled in this incident.
The post went on to quote the father of the victim,
“If something positive can come from this case, and Justin’s death, it’s that I just hope people will be prepared to say ‘no’ to their employer if they’re asked to do something they’re not trained to do, or it wouldn’t be safe for them to do.”