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Fife man fined £20,000 after employee killed in 14.5m fall

Boyd Lamont from Fife has been fined £20,000 for health and safety breaches after one of his employees fell through the roof of a warehouse in 2008.

Mr Lamont, from Buckhaven, Fife, was fined for the incident in which Thomas Sturrock, 32, died on 29 September 2008. Falls from height are the most common cause of work-related fatality in the construction industry.

Mr Lamont was a self-employed contractor then trading as “Special Access Inspection” in 2008.

His workers were cleaning the roof of the Tullis Russell Papermaker warehouse in Markinch.

According to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Mr Lamont “failed to properly assess the risks associated with the work, and failed to provide his men with appropriate safety equipment, such as crawling boards”.

“The contractor failed to properly assess the well-known risks from working on or near fragile roof surfaces”

Mac Young, HM inspector of health and safety

Mr Sturrock landed on the concrete floor below and died of his injuries at the scene.

Mr Lamont pleaded guilty at Dunfermline Sheriff Court to failing to ensure the health and safety of his employees, and to failing to provide them with equipment, information, instruction, training and supervision or a safe system of work.

COPFS health and safety division head Elaine Taylor said: “This tragic death could have been avoided if Boyd Lamont had properly assessed the risks associated with the work on the roof, and ensured that his men had were properly trained, resourced and equipped to carry out this work safely.  

“Work at height involves significant risks and as an employer, Boyd Lamont had a duty to assess and mitigate them.  He completely and utterly failed to do so, and that cost a young man his life.

“Employers must ensure that the risks associated with such work are properly assessed, that appropriate equipment is provided and safe working practices are followed.  Failure to do so can have tragic consequences, as in this case.

Mac Young, HM inspector of health and safety, said: “Work at height carries significant risks and must always be properly planned particularly when it involves fragile roof surfaces. 

“The contractor failed to properly assess the well-known risks from working on or near fragile roof surfaces. He failed to provide a safe system of work, adequate equipment, instruction, information and training, all of which are necessary in order that work on or near fragile surfaces may be carried out safely. 

“These failings led directly to the tragic death of Thomas Sturrock in September 2008, when he fell through a fragile roof onto a warehouse floor, a distance of some 14.5 metres.”

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