Construction safety expert says tiler’s death could have been easily avoided


A construction company has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 in court after a worker on one of its projects fell through an “unsafe” scaffold and later died from his injuries. 

Amberley Homes (Kent) Limited, of London Road, in Sevenoaks, pleaded guilty to breaching construction design and management regulations during a trial at Maidstone Nightingale Court in January.   

Mark Tolley, a 51-year-old sub-contractor to Amberley, had been installing hanging tiles on one of six new houses on Smarden Road in Headcorn on 5 July 2017, when he fell nearly two metres through an unguarded scaffold opening, sustaining several broken ribs and serious internal injuries including a punctured lung. He later died on 13 July 2017.  

An investigation found Amberley, the principal contractor, had failed to appoint someone with the necessary skills and training to manage the site.  

Amberley had also failed to ensure a safe working platform on the scaffold was maintained throughout the project.  

Access to and from the first lift was found to have been unsafe, too, as multiple openings had been made.  

The openings were also unguarded and presented a “significant risk of falling”. 

Further, Amberley failed to control and monitor the site effectively and act on concerns raised by its safety consultant. 

The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £83,842.34 in costs at Canterbury Crown Court on 15 March. 

Health and Safety Executive principal inspector, Ross Carter, said: “This tragic death could have been so easily avoided by implementing suitable site management to ensure that the scaffold was appropriately adapted by competent persons for the needs of the different sub-contractors. 

“This case highlights that principal contractors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards and do not plan, manage and monitor the construction phase effectively.” 

For more information on health and safety in construction, click here. 

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