Scaffold Fall Leads To Slow Death

Mark Tolley, 51, fell nearly two metres through an opening in a scaffold working as a sub-contractor on six houses in Kent. The construction firm has been fined after he took 12 days to die from his injuries.

On 5 July 2017, Tolley sustained several broken ribs and serious internal injuries including a punctured lung – he passed away on 17 July.

Tolley had been installing vertical hanging tiles on one of the new properties when he fell 1.8 metres through an unguarded opening in the scaffold and landed on the ground below.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd, the principal contractor for the project, had not appointed a person with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and training to manage the construction site. The company had not ensured that a safe working platform on the scaffold was maintained throughout the different phases of the project. Access to and from the first lift working platform was unsafe as multiple openings had been made which could subsist for several weeks. The openings were unguarded and therefore there was a significant risk of falling circa 1.8 metres from the working platform.

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd did not control the site effectively. Its monitoring was ineffective as it did not act on concerns raised by its safety consultant when he drew the problems with site management.



HSE guidance states principal contractors must plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the construction phase of a project.

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd, of London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, entered a guilty plea to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 during a trial at Maidstone Nightingale Court in January 2024. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £83,842.34 in costs at Canterbury Crown Court on 15 March 2024.

HSE 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.”


Picture: The scaffold that Mark Tolley fell from – a fall that lead to his death.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer
25th March 2024


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