Mr Tony Causby, 42, worked for S&S Scaffolding Ltd as a labourer. In late 2010 S&S Scaffolding Ltd was carrying out major work on a warehouse in Skelmersdale. Mr Causby helped to erect the scaffolding so that damaged cladding and guttering on the roof of the warehouse could be repaired and returned to the site on 14 December 2010 in order to dismantle the scaffolding.
On the day in question Mr Causby had just returned from lunch with a colleague of his and was walking across the roof of the warehouse. However, he inadvertently stepped on a skylight, leading him to plunge 39 feet to the floor below. Mr Causby was taken to hospital but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
The accident was notified to the Health and Safety Executive, who carried out an investigation. This investigation found that S&S Scaffolding Ltd had failed to take steps to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the safety and welfare of its employees. Among the health and safety failings that the HSE discovered was a failure to put covers on the skylights to prevent workers falling through – a fact which had certainly contributed to the death of Mr Causby.
The case was heard at the Liverpool Crown Court on 11 June 2013. S&S Scaffolding Ltd pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,517.
An HSE inspector, Ms Jacqueline Western, commented after the prosecution: “Mr Causby died because S&S Scaffolding didn’t do enough to protect him from the risks of working at height, despite being a specialist scaffolding firm and being fully aware of the dangers of falls. It would have been relatively easy to cover the fragile skylights near to where the employees were working to prevent anyone from falling through if they accidentally stepped on one.”