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Stirling Stone convicted after employee falls to his death

16 May 2011

Stirling Stone in Scotland have been convicted of health & safety breaches that resulted in the death of a stone mason's labourer. Contractors Robertson Construction Central were also convicted at Glasgow Sheriff Court this month (March).

This was the first case to proceed in Court by way of trial rather than being resolved by a plea since the set up of the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health & Safety Division .

In Scotland COPSF has sole responsibility for criminal proceedings for breaches of health & safety legislation. Its Health and Safety Division has 10 specialist prosecutors in a team of 18 based at three units in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Division was officially launched by the Solicitor General in July 2009.

The incident that resulted in the death took place on 26 April 2007 at a construction site at Glasgow Academy in Colebrook Street, Glasgow. James Kelly, a labourer employed by Stirling Stone, was working on the third level of a loading tower on independent access scaffolding and he fell to the ground, sustaining injuries from which he died

Following the case, Elaine Taylor, Head of the COPFS Health & Safety Division, said: “James Kelly went to work and as a result of failings by his employer and the principal contractor on site, he never returned home. He left a family devastated by their loss.”

She said COPFS Health & Safety Division is fully committed to prosecute those in breach of health & safety legislation where it is in the public interest to do so.

“By building on our existing expertise and through enhanced working relationships with the Health & Safety Executive and other enforcing authorities, the Division is able to deal with the complex issues that can arise in cases such as this,” she said.

Health & Safety Executive Principal Inspector Iain Brodie said: “Companies working at height should ensure scaffolding is correctly erected, safe to use and properly checked and maintained.

“Where building materials are to be transferred into loading towers on scaffolding there should be a realistic safe system of work for workers to follow. They should be given information, instruction, training, and be adequately supervised.

"If these companies had taken these steps, then James Kelly might be alive today.”

Sheriff Cathcart deferred sentence until 7 April at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Stirling Stone were convicted of a breach of Section 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Robertson Construction of a breach of Sections 3(1) and 33(1), relating to companies' responsibilities to ensure workers are safe.

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