Liable site manager to pay £77,500 in court costs

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Another serous breach of health and safety leaves a man dead after site manger instructs operatives to extend scaffold without proper supervision or training leaving gaps in scaffold which bricklayer fell though the story follows.

A site manager has been ordered to pay £77,500 in court costs following the death of a bricklayer on his site.

Chestnut Homes of Skegness and their site manager Peter Tute were both prosecuted in September following the death of Justin Gillman who fell backwards through unguarded scaffolding while working on a residential building site in on 26 February, 2010.

Chestnut Homes was fined £40,000 and Tute ordered to carry-out 240 hours of community service.

The Judge adjourned a decision on costs but has now decided Chestnut Homes and Tute must both now pay £77,500 each.

They have been given 28 days to pay.

An HSE investigation into the tragedy discovered serious safety failings which included allowing untrained people to build scaffolding, failing to check it was safe for use and for failing to ensure the safety of workers once it was in use.

The court heard that Gillman and a colleague were told by Tute to extend some scaffolding around the walls of a block of three terraced houses being built.

Neither were qualified scaffolders or had any experience or qualifications of erecting scaffolding, and as the site manager Tute should not have entrusted them with the task.

HSE inspectors established that Tute did not provide Gillman or his colleague with any instructions in how to build the scaffolding and left them to improvise and get on with it.

They built a scaffolding platform that had no guard and the structure was a different height to existing scaffolding on the rest of the plots.

According to the Scaffold Inspection Record for the site, the whole scaffold was inspected on the day of the tragedy and was adjudged as being safe by Tute.

On the day of the fatal fall, the weather was too poor for bricklaying so Gillman and his colleague decided to load out the scaffolding with bricks for work the following Monday.

Having loaded out two sides of the scaffolding, Gillman loaded a further band of 80 bricks on a trolley and pulled it backwards, past some guard rails that were raised out of the way, and up a makeshift ramp onto the scaffolding.

Gillman fell backwards from the end of the unsafe scaffold where there was no guard rail to prevent him falling. The band of bricks he was pulling landed on him, and he died at the scene of his injuries.

This is a warning to those running sites that they are wholly responsible for those who are on site.