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Fines imposed following scaffolding fall death

Scaffold over-roof at Washington Avenue, St. Leonards on SeaA firm, its director and a supervisor have been sentenced for safety failings after a worker died from injuries sustained in a fall from scaffolding at a construction site in East Sussex.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Apex Scaffolding (Sussex) Ltd., its director, Michael Walsh, and Leslie Hustwayte, a supervisor, for negligence and defects that contributed towards the incident on 10 August 2009.

On Friday 25 May, Hastings Magistrates’ Court heard that Joseph Murphy, 31, from had been constructing a scaffold over-roof at Washington Avenue in St. Leonards on Sea, when he fell.

Precisely how far or why he fell remains unclear, but a HSE investigation identified a number of defects with the scaffolding at the site, including missing hand rails and incomplete scaffold platforms. Evidence of deficient working practices by Mr. Hustwayte and a negligent safety culture within the company were also found.

Magistrates were told that Prohibition Notices had previously been served on Apex Scaffolding (Sussex) Ltd. and on individual employees for unsafe working practices, but the poor attitude to safety in the organisation continued.

Apex Scaffolding (Sussex) Ltd., of Court House, Hooe, Battle; Michael Walsh, of King Edward Avenue, Hastings; and Leslie Hustwayte, of Asten Close, St Leonards on Sea, all pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 6(3) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 in relation to the safety failings.

Mr Hustwayte also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 14(2) of the same legislation.

The company was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs for its failings, Michael Walsh was fined £1,500 with £2,500 in costs and Leslie Hustwayte was fined £2,000 with costs of £2,500.


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