Fatal fall from insecure scaffold ladder

Scaffold erected by unqualified and incompetent person

An Aberdeen based roofing contractor has been fined after an employee fell to his death from a ladder whilst leaving a scaffold in the city on 21 September 2016.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that employee, Joseph Kane, fell from the top rungs of a ladder which slipped sideways on the scaffold. Mr Kane died of multiple injuries caused by the fall.

The scaffolding had been erected by the defendant and the ladder was tied, with a blue nylon cord, to the scaffold ledger on the left stile of the ladder.

Lateral ladder movement

The HSE specialist inspector who carried out the investigation estimated the lateral movement of the ladder due to the “lack of fixity” was approximately 20cm.

HSE found that the employee of the defendant company who erected the scaffold was not a qualified and competent scaffolder.

He had been asked to erect the scaffold by the company director who was aware he was unqualified. The director allowed three people to access the scaffold which was not erected to the correct standard.

    • Henderson and Aitken Limited – of Aberdeen, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33(1)(c) of HSWA and was fined £53,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Niall Miller said:“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

This tragic and preventable death highlights the need for those undertaking work at height to ensure that it is carried out safely, that industry guidance is followed and that the relevant regulations are complied with.

It is vitally important that those planning and arranging for such work give sufficient regard to the risks posed to workers and members of the public through their actions.”