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Bricklayer fell to his death due to unsafe scaffolding

A house building company has been fined and a site manager sentenced to community service after a self-employed bricklayer fell to his death from dangerous scaffolding.

Justin Gillman died when he fell almost two metres while working on a residential building site in Skegness.


Chestnut Homes Ltd and their site manager, Peter Tute, were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious safety failings.

The court was told that Mr Gillman ,26, of Boston, Lincolnshire and a colleague were told by Mr Tute to extend some scaffolding around the walls of a block of three terraced houses being built.

Neither were qualified or had any experience of erecting scaffolding.

HSE inspectors established Mr Tute did not provide Mr Gillman or his colleague with any instructions in how to build the scaffolding.

They built a scaffolding platform that had no guard and the structure was a different height to existing scaffolding on the rest of the plots.

However, according to the Scaffold Inspection Record for the site, the whole scaffold was inspected on the day Mr Gillman died and was adjudged as being safe by Mr Tute.

On the day of the fatal fall, Mr Gillman and his colleague decided to load out the scaffolding with bricks for work the following Monday.

Mr Gillman fell backwards from the end of the unsafe scaffold where there was no guard rail to prevent him falling. The band of bricks he was pulling landed on him, and he died at the scene of his injuries.

Chestnut Homes Ltd of Wragby Road, Langworth, Lincoln were fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Peter Tute, 50, of Donington Park, Lincoln, was ordered to carry out 240 hours community service after pleading guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The court will determine the amount of costs to be paid at a later date.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Richard Lockwood said: “Before entrusting tasks to workers, principal contractors and site managers must ensure they are competent to do the task being given to them.

Justin’s father, Alan Gillman, added: “If something positive can come from this case, and Justin’s death, it’s that I just hope people will be prepared to say ‘no’ to their employer if they’re asked to do something they’re not trained to do, or it wouldn’t be safe for them to do.”


For expert advice and assistance on scaffolding claims please contact Neville Filar on 01708 757575 or email neville.filar@ker.co.uk

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