A 68 year-old joiner died after falling almost six metres from dangerous scaffolding while helping to build a house extension, a court heard.
A trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard that self-employed Peter Winchurch had been working on the roof trusses when he fell from the scaffolding at a semi-detached house in Skelmersdale in November 2009.
The jury heard Mr Winchurch, of Skelmersdale, suffered critical head injuries and died in hospital the following day.
St Helens healthcare firm TRU Ltd, which now trades as TRU (Transitional Rehabilitation Unit) Ltd and was in charge of the construction site, was fined £170,000 after being found guilty of two breaches of health and safety regulations.
The firm, of Haydock Lane, Haydock, was also ordered to pay a further £82,145 in prosecution costs.
Following the five-day trial Inspector Anthony Polec, of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “The failings by TRU Ltd were a significant cause of Mr Winchurch’s tragic death.
“The scaffolding was clearly dangerous, which meant that the risk of a worker being killed or seriously injured in a fall was highly foreseeable.
“The safeguards required were reasonably practicable, and there is much published guidance on the subject from HSE and the construction industry.”
TRU Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE after its investigation found the scaffolding at the construction site was dangerous.
It said there was a lack of guard rails, no risk assessments, no method statements and inadequate decking while TRU Ltd’s site employees weren’t trained in safety.
TRU Ltd specialises in providing rehabilitation for people with brain injuries but also took on some building projects.
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Date Published: November 27, 2013
Author: David Brown