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Building firm safety ignored

Reporter: Don Frame
Date online: 14 February 2017

A WORKER employed by an Oldham Labour councillor's building firm could have been killed when he fell 20ft from a scaffolding tower, fracturing his hip and both heels, a court was told.

Andrew Horn, who worked for Abdul Malik Ahmed's Malbro firm, had erected the scaffold himself, but neglected to fit vital stabiliser outriggers, and had been standing on top of the tower when it was in motion.

Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Mr Horn, said to have significant learning difficulties, had been using the scaffolding without any proper training or safeguards.

Joseph Hart, prosecuting, said Mr Ahmed (57) had been guilty of "wilful blindness" to the risks involved.

He said guidance made it clear that stabilisers should always be fitted to a scaffold tower, and nobody should stand on the structure while it was being moved. He said: "It is not the duty of the employee to read safety advice ­- that duty is placed on the employer."

Mr Ahmed, who pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, was told by Mr Recorder John Benson that the offence was too serious to merit less than custody.

He told him, however, that he felt able to suspend his eight-week prison sentence for 12 months because of the valuable work he had done within the community and his previous good character.

The court heard how the accident happened at the Oldham Bangladeshi Cultural Centre in October, 2013, while Mr Horn was in the process of changing light bulbs at the request of Mr Ahmed, who was secretary to the limited company that ran the centre.

The scaffolding had been in use at a mosque across the road, and Mr Horn had dismantled it, then re-erected it inside the centre.

Recorder Benson told Ahmed: "It is a fact that in the workplace, one of the most common causes of fatality or serious injury is a fall from heights. In my judgement there was a serious accident waiting to happen."

Recorder Benson said an unattractive feature of the case was that when it became apparent that there would be an investigation into the cause of the accident, Mr Ahmed sought to suggest that on the day in question ­- a Saturday ­- Mr Horn had not been an employee of his company, but in effect an independent contractor working on his own.

Mr Horn whose normal working week was Monday to Friday, was also told to invoice the building firm for which he worked, for payment for the lighting job, which he had never been asked to do before.

The Recorder said however that the behaviour ran contrary to the way he had behaved in public life, adding: "People speak in volumes of your community and charitable work.

"To your credit you also made sure that Mr Horn was paid during his period of incapacity, and he clearly values his continuing employment with you."

Mr Ahmed, of Wellington Road, Werneth, Oldham was fined £2,500 in addition to his suspended sentence.

An application for costs of almost £12,000 by the Health and Safety Executive to cover an investigation into the accident, was rejected by the Recorder, who said he did not consider it appropriate to add to Mr Ahmed's financial obligations.


I cannot believe his pathetic excuse. "It was a Saturday and therefore he was a sub-contractor".

Does he take people for twits?

No doubt the Labour Party on Oldham Council will ignore Malik's criminality and he will continue to chair the licensing committee, which ironically is responsible for the health and safety of residents using local taxis and private hire vehicles.

Second sentence in as many days where judges probably terrified by Social Justice Warriors have handed down the most lenient sentence they possibly could.

We need a Donald, to drain the swamp here !

Well, well, well Justice I think not!

This is ridiculous he has shown complete disregard to another persons saftey as a Councilor he should have regard for the safety of all people he is representing,I don't think he is the right person to fill this role in the community any more, the action was shameful and he should step down now.

What a joke "able to suspend his eight-week prison sentence for 12 months because of the valuable work he had done within the community and his previous good character."

Too frightened of doing the right thing and sending Ahmed down more like.

I am not interested in politics so the fact the firm belonged to a Councillor is an irrelevant fact to me.

So from an impartial point of view I would just point out the facts of the above report ...

It says the worker "could have been killed" ... could have; would have; should have ... the fact is he wasn't !

I could have been killed walking along the street today, but I wasn't !

Andrew Horn erected the scaffolding himself - what about him taking the blame for not caring for his own safety ?

Yet another example of the calibre of those elected to represent and manage this town.

the only person who should be sent to prison is the third party who pulled over the scaffolding tower thus causing the accident.

Thou Dumber You need to take into account the facts as explained in the story.
"It is not the duty of the employee to read safety advice ­- that duty is placed on the employer."
"Mr Horn, said to have significant learning difficulties"
"using the scaffolding without any proper training or safeguards."
It's all about minimising risk. You walked down the street, but you did not run across from side to side without looking did you?
The reason why is risk management which failed in this case.

Fale - I am sure you know as well as I do that in today's world everybody is looking to blame someone else whenever anything doesn't go their way.

Yes, minimising the risk is essential, but people should also be accountable to themselves instead of looking for a scapegoat.

If the gent had learning difficulties he should NOT have been working alone FACT. Not only is scaffolding a skilled trade but a dangerous one. He unfortunately has hurt himself but could have hurt others too. It’s another joke of a sentence, at least we all agree there but until the judges start dishing out the correct sentence, nothing will change.


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