Construction Firm Fined After Worker Dies From Fall

A construction firm in Kent has been fined following an incident where a subcontractor fell and succumbed to his injuries.

Mark Tolley, aged 51, fell nearly two metres through an aperture in a scaffold on 5th July 2017 whilst working on the construction of six houses on Smarden Road in Headcorn, Kent.

He suffered multiple broken ribs and severe internal injuries, including a punctured lung, and tragically passed away on 13th July 2017.

Mr Tolley was 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 inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd, the primary contractor for the project, had failed to appoint an individual with the requisite skills, knowledge, experience, and training to oversee the construction site. The company had also neglected to ensure that a safe working platform on the scaffold was maintained throughout the various phases of the project. Access to and from the first lift working platform was deemed unsafe due to multiple unguarded openings that could persist for several weeks, posing a significant risk of falls from a height of approximately 1.8 metres.

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd exhibited ineffective control over the site, with their monitoring proving inadequate as they did not address concerns raised by their safety consultant regarding the site management issues.

HSE guidance stipulates that principal contractors must meticulously plan, manage, monitor, and coordinate health and safety during the construction phase of a project. Further details can be found in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (

Amberley Homes (Kent) Ltd, based on London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, pleaded guilty 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 15th March 2024.

HSE principal inspector Ross Carter commented: “This tragic fatality could have been easily avoided by implementing suitable site management to ensure that the scaffold was appropriately adapted by competent individuals for the requirements of the different subcontractors.

“This case underscores that principal contractors must understand that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fail to meet the required standards and do not effectively plan, manage, and monitor the construction phase.”