The worker fell from the first lift of the scaffold as it was being dismantled. He was passing boards down to another worker when he lost his footing and fell to the concrete below.
The man, from Rainham, Kent, suffered severe head injuries and needed surgery to remove the frontal lobe of the brain.
He spent many weeks in hospital and now has memory and behavioural problems and is unable to walk far. He is unlikely to be able to work again.
The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Paramount Scaffolding Ltd and director Luke Jessop, both of Gillingham, Kent after following the incident at a property in Meopham, near Gravesend, on 25 January this year.
Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court heard that Paramount Scaffolding had a three-man team on site to dismantle the scaffolding. Director Luke Jessop was the only trained scaffolder among them.
The injured worker was standing on the first level of the scaffold and was lifting the boards and passing them to a colleague below.
The platform had been six boards wide and was down to three when he lost his footing and fell. The edge protection had already been removed.
Paramount Scaffolding and Jessup both pleaded guilty to safety breaches and were both fined £2,000 with £1,000 costs each.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: “This is a very stark example of the tragedy that can result from a task carried out at height without proper thought and planning.
“It has resulted in life-changing injuries for the worker and has had a devastating impact on his family. In addition, Mr Jessop was a personal friend, and he also has to live with the consequences of his role in the incident.
“What happened that day was totally preventable if simple working methods had been followed and the untrained workers had been more closely and better supervised to ensure they carried out the work safely.
“The scaffolding industry has produced guidance on the safe working methods to follow and this case sadly reflects the harsh reality of not doing so.”