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Firms fined over steeplejack’s death

Firms fined over steeplejack’s death

Two building firms have been fined after a steeplejack fell to his death from 164ft.

John Alty, a father of one from Blackburn, was working at the top of a disused chimney in Great Lever, Bolton when the scaffolding collapsed.

The 40-year-old was repairing brickwork on the chimney in June 2007 when he fell, Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Mr Alty was pronounced dead at the scene, but his colleague survived after clinging to a ladder.

A Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) probe found that the anchor fixings used by his employer Bailey International to connect the scaffolding to the chimney were not strong enough.

The HSE said that the fixing had been chosen despite the firm's knowledge of the poor condition of the bricks.

The fixings were not tested prior to being used and the scaffolding design was not checked either, the probe found.

Heywood-based Ken Brogden had been hired to repair the scaffolding – which had been damaged on another job.

But the firm welded over the weakened joints instead of grinding them out and welding them back together, the court heard.

Bailey International Steeplejack Company Ltd was ordered to pay £75,000 and Ken Brogden Ltd was fined £10,000 for breaching health and safety laws.

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