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Scaffolding firm sentenced over worker's death

12-07-2013

Photo shows skylight Tony Causby fell 13 metres through

A scaffolding firm has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in fines and costs following the death of an employee who plunged 13 metres through the roof of a Skelmersdale warehouse.

Married father-of-one Tony Causby, 42, from Leigh, was helping to dismantle scaffolding when he stepped onto a fragile skylight and fell to the floor below.

Atherton-based S&S Scaffolding Ltd. was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over serious safety breaches following an investigation into the incident at the warehouse on Pennine Way on 14 December 2010.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Mr Causby had helped to erect the scaffolding at the end of October ahead of work to replace damaged cladding and guttering on the roof. He returned to the site on 14 December as part of the dismantling team, although he was employed by S&S Scaffolding as a labourer rather than a scaffolder.

Mr Causby had just returned to the roof with another labourer after his lunch break when he stepped on a skylight, which broke and gave way. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The court was told there were around 80 fragile skylights on one half of the roof, with each one measuring about one metre by two metres. However, the company failed to arrange for covers to be put on the skylights nearest to where its employees were working to prevent them falling through.

S&S Scaffolding Ltd. pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company, of Arley Way in Atherton, Greater Manchester, was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £31,517 in prosecution costs.

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