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Bricklayer's fall 'would have been prevented by hand rail'

REPLACING a scaffold guard rail would have saved the life of a bricklayer who fell five floors to his death, a court heard last week.

Workers on the site in London's Docklands told Thames Magistrates' Court that they noticed two loose pallets of bricks being lifted onto the scaffold.

John Fahy, 31, cut open the bands holding the bricks together and they spewed out knocking him off the scaffold.

Alan Rodbourne, of Godstone, Surrey, and Patrick Melly, of Kidbrooke, London, as joint partners of Assured Brickwork, deny failing to provide a safety guard and being an employer under the Factories Act and Construction Working Places Regulations.

Bricklayer Ivan Carless told the court that there was no hand rail because it had been removed to allow forklifts to load bricks.

Bricklaying foreman Jason Panzavechia said the practice was to replace the rail as soon as possible but on the day of the tragedy it had not been 'practicable'.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Mark Shearon visited the site the day before the accident and was told work would be carried out to deficient scaffolding.

The hearing was adjourned until today (Thursday) when closing submissions will be made and a decision announced.