Housebuilder fined after CDM breach leads to fatal fall

Construction fall from height
(Image: HSE)

Construction company Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd has been fined £25,000 after a subcontractor fell and died from his injuries.

Mark Tolley, 51, fell nearly 2m through an opening in a scaffold on 5 July 2017 while working on the construction of six houses on Smarden Road in Headcorn, Kent.

He sustained several broken ribs and serious internal injuries including a punctured lung. He later died on 13 July 2017.

Tolley was installing vertical hanging tiles on one of the new properties when he fell 1.8m through an unguarded opening in the scaffold.

The HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Amberley Homes (Kent), the principal contractor for the project, had not appointed a person with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and training to manage the construction site.

The company had failed to ensure that a safe working platform on the scaffold was maintained throughout the different phases of the project. Access to and from the first lift working platform was unsafe as multiple openings had been made which could subsist for several weeks.

The openings were unguarded and therefore there was a significant risk of falling from the working platform.

The HSE said Amberley Homes (Kent) did not control the site effectively. Its monitoring was ineffective as it did not act on concerns raised by its safety consultant when he drew attention to the problems with site management.

The prosecution

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd, of London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, entered a guilty plea to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 during a trial at Maidstone Nightingale Court in January 2024.

It was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £83,842.34 in costs at Canterbury Crown Court on 15 March 2024.

HSE principal inspector Ross Carter said: “This tragic death could have been so easily avoided by implementing suitable site management to ensure that the scaffold was appropriately adapted by competent persons for the needs of the different subcontractors.”

Story for CM? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News