Two companies have been sentenced and fined following the death of a construction worker in Accrington.
Peter Walton fell from scaffolding on Altham Industrial Estate in May 2006 and as a result Howorth Scaffolding Services Ltd and Glenmill Group (Developments) Ltd were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Preston Crown Court heard how 55 year old Mr Walton fell and was critically injured, whilst working on a project to build three new office blocks. The accident happened when an unsecured board on the scaffolding gave way. Mr Walton died in hospital five weeks later.
Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by putting their workers, including Mr Walton, at serious risk.
Howorth Scaffolding was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £13,793 towards the cost of the prosecution, the Glenmill Group received a nominal fine of £1 and £13,793 towards court costs. The judge revealed that both fines reflected the companies' current financial situations.
"Both these companies contributed to Peter Walton's death by failing to follow the proper safety procedures for putting up scaffolding,” said HSE Inspector, Ian Connor.
"Howorth Scaffolding should have made sure that it constructed the scaffolding properly, and, as the principal contractor for the site, Glenmill Group should have ensured it was safe before allowing construction workers on to it.”
He continued: "This is an extremely sad case which once again shows how important it is to follow health and safety regulations. It's vital that construction companies do more to prevent deaths and injuries in the future."
Falls from height are a significant cause of workplace injuries in this country. 15 workers lost their lives last year, and almost 11,500 were seriously injured in similar incidents to this tragic case.