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Company fined for health and safety failings that led to worker's death


A construction and telecommunication company has been fined £550,000 after a worker died after falling from a stepladder and being impaled on metal piping. 

Linbrooke Services Limited, Sheffield, was also ordered to pay the dead man’s family £200,000 compensation after being convicted of health and safety and working at height regulations at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

The court heard that electrician, Matthew Mason, 20, died while installing a public address system at Bearsden Train Station, north of Glasgow, in June 2018.

He was trying to free speaker cabling that had become stuck when he fell backwards onto a section of metal piping being used as a handle on a cable drum. This piping pierced his side causing internal injuries and he died at the scene.

During the 14-day trial, the prosecutor showed that the company had failed to appropriately plan and risk assess the project and create a safe system of work.

The company was found to have failed to adequately identify the risks involved with pulling cables through a conduit at height even though they had been informed of the problems by a sub-contractor in an earlier attempt.

Stepladders were unsuitable for the work being carried out. There were insufficient measures in place to prevent a fall from height. They also failed to adequately identify the risks involved with the use of improvised cable dispensing methods or ensure that the surrounding area was free of material that could cause injury in the event of a fall.

Speaking after sentencing, the leader on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service for Scotland, Debbie Carroll, said,  “Matthew Mason lost his life in circumstances which were foreseeable and avoidable.

“His death could have been prevented had Linbrooke Services Limited put in place appropriate planning, supervision, and protective measures to manage the risk of working at height.

“It is well known that falls from height are one of the single greatest causes of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.   From the evidence heard here there needs to be an increased recognition and rigour within the industry in addressing the risks associated with the use of stepladders.

“This prosecution should remind duty holders that a failure to fulfil their obligations can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”