Sussex builder responsible for timber falling onto young girl’s head is spared jail

The scaffolding in Brighton. Image credit: HSE

A builder, who was responsible for a length of timber falling on a three-year-old girl in Brighton, leaving her with ‘life-changing’ injuries, has been spared jail.

Grzegorz Glowacki, a builder, of Rugby Road in Brighton, had tied the timber to a rope as part of a scaffolding pulley system in Preston Street.

The young girl was in a buggy being pushed by her mother when they passed underneath the scaffolding in July last year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who led the investigation into Glowacki, said the knot used to tie the timber was not suitable and it slipped out, with no exclusion zone on the ground to prevent anyone being underneath the load.

As a result, it fell approximately ten metres and struck the young girl on the head.

The HSE said she suffered severe head injuries which have been ‘life-changing’, and while she has made significant progress, it is not yet known whether she will make a full recovery.

HSE inspector Stephen Green said:

“This horrendous incident would have been the last thing on the minds of this little girl and her mum as they set off for a fun day out at the beach.

“The impact this incident has had on the girl and her family was easily prevented by simply stopping people from walking beneath the suspended timber whilst it was lifted.

“The risk should have been identified by Mr Glowacki.

“Companies and individuals should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action when members of the public are needlessly put at risk.”

At a hearing yesterday (Monday, 4), Glowacki pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, along with 220 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay costs totaling £5727.92.