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Two firm prosecuted for refurb worker death

The two companies have been prosecuted by HSE after 36-year-old Dudley man was killed when he fell from a tower scaffold.

Spanclad, based in Smethwick in the West Midlands, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs following an incident at a Northampton warehouse when a refurbishment worker died after falling seven metres from a tower scaffold.

Principal contractors for Spanclad, Westminster Building Co, based in Derby, was also fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs after pleading guilty. The two companies were prosecuted by HSE following an investigation of the incident.

On October 25, 2004, Mr Handley was one of four workers carrying out the re-cladding of a warehouse at Scottish Courage, Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, in Northampton.

Mr Handley was working on a tower scaffold positioned on timber boards, placed on top on a fragile cement sheeted canopy in the warehouse loading bay when fell approximately seven metres from the tower scaffold, through the canopy onto the yard below, suffering fatal injuries.

HSE Inspector Richard Lockwood said: "This was an entirely preventable incident which led to the death of a local man. Darren Handley, a 36-year-old from Dudley, was killed when he fell from a tower scaffold, which was not the right equipment for the work he was undertaking and was also erected incorrectly. The access to the scaffold was across fragile materials, which presented another significant danger to the worker.

"This tragedy could have easily been avoided if the two companies had properly planned the work to ensure adequate safety measures were in place for people working at height."