Boss Jailed Over Safety Breach

Scaffolding Fall

26.06.2008

The owner of a scaffolding firm has been jailed for three months after a worker was seriously injured in a fall while dismantling a job.

Philip Wolstenholme, the owner of A1 Access Scaffolding in Rotherham, was sentenced to three months' imprisonment when he pleaded guilty before Sheffield Crown Court to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The court also heard that Mr Wolstenholme, 53, had contravened the requirements of a prohibition notice served by the Health and Safety Executive over an offence under the same Act a year earlier. That notice specifically prohibited him from allowing staff who had not been given proper training to erect or dismantle scaffolding.

Employee Scott Mitchell had been working at a house in Sheffield on 12 January 2007 when he fell six metres to the ground and broke his back. He had not been trained, had not followed the correct procedures and was not wearing a harness. The court found that, by sending Mr Mitchell and a co-worker to carry out the job, Mr Wolstenholme was in contravention of the prohibition notice and decided a custodial sentence was therefore appropriate.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "I welcome the prison sentence handed down following this tragic and avoidable industrial accident.

"Falls from height area a major source of serious and fatal accidents.

"It is appalling that Mr Wolstenholme ignored the earlier prohibition notice. His actions led to Mr Mitchell suffering a serious spinal injury.

"I regularly represent workers who have been injured or killed in serious workplace accidents."