Partners of Birkenhead building firm put lives at risk by having untrained worker erect scaffolding

Partners in a building firm have been fined as a result of a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a pensioner was seriously injured in a fall from scaffolding on a Lancashire farm.

James and Patricia Smith, husband and wife partners of JHS Group in Birkenhead, were prosecuted for failing to make sure the scaffolding was erected correctly.

The 68-year-old man had been working for the Merseyside-based JHS Group on a barn roof at a farm in Ormskirk when the incident happened in July 2007.

The victim fell 7.5m through a gap between the building and scaffolding, fracturing his neck and skull, breaking his tibia and fibia, and suffering bleeding on the brain.

The couple pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

On Friday, James Smith was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000 at Ormskirk magistrates' court. Patricia Smith was also fined £2,000 with costs of £2,000.

HSE inspector Lisa Bailey said: “This man is lucky to be alive after suffering horrific injuries as a result of this incident, which would not have occurred if the scaffolding had been erected properly.

“The couple relied on an employee without training to erect the scaffolding and, as a result, put the safety of people using it at risk.”