Two scaffolders receive suspended prison sentence following workers death

Two scaffolders from St Austell, Cornwall have received suspended prison sentences following a death of a worker who fell 7m to his death.

Scaffolding

Roger Stoddern, 47, was dismantling scaffolding on 24 June 2013, when he fell from a flat roof of a property in St Mawes. He was taken to Derriford Hospital but died three weeks later due to the severity of his injuries.

Truro Crown Court heard how Mr Stoddern was stacking 3m roofing sheets on the flat roof of the property without any edge protection. The safety railing had been removed to allow access to the flat roof so the sheets could be stacked. The court also heard how one of the defendants replaced the safety rail following the incident to cover up the cause of the incident.

The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation, alongside Devon and Cornwall police found that Colin Marshall Scaffolding was not qualified to erect the scaffolding and there was evidence no personal protective equipment, such as harnesses, was used. The condition of the scaffolding also failed to meet current safety standards.

Colin Marshall, of St Austell, founder of the business pleaded guilty to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two-years. James Marshall, also of St Austell, Colin’s son and business partner was handed an eight-month sentence suspended for two-years. They were ordered to pay costs of £25,661.

HSE inspector said, “Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in Great Britain and businesses have to take the safety of their workers seriously. Colin Marshall and James Marshall are responsible for the death of Roger Stoddern. It was entirely preventable and should not have happened. The risks of working at height are known. Scaffolders must ensure they use the right protective equipment and have sufficient edge protection in place to prevent workers falling.”

Phoenix comment “Falls from height account for 3 out of 10 fatal injuries every year, with half of all fatal falls in construction.  This is a tragic accident that could have been avoided with careful planning and training.  Scaffolds should always be designed, erected, altered and dismantled only by competent people and the work should always be carried out under the direction of a competent supervisor. This is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations 2005”.