March 18, 2017
Manchester Magistrates have issued fines totalling £15,300 for safety failings that led to a demolition site accident and serious injuries to an employee.
In August 2014, two employees of Access Flooring Specialists Ltd were demolishing a concrete block wall at the Manchester building formerly known as Portland Tower. One of the men started cutting into the wall at the half way point, until the second employee took over and continued from the top of the wall, using step ladders for access.
Unfortunately, as the second man – a 53-year-old father of two from Salford – continued demolishing the wall, the top half of the wall collapsed, knocking him from the stepladder and landing on top of him. He was taken to hospital with a fractured neck and back injuries, where he remained for three months. He has been unable to return to work since the demolition site accident.
Inspectors from the Health & Safety Executive investigated the circumstances of the accident and found that no suitable risk assessment had been conducted for the job. IT was also found that the two men had not been given instructions how to complete the job safely, no checks had been made regarding their experience, and they were not provided with suitable personal protective equipment.
Their employer – Access Flooring Specialists Ltd – and the general contractor in charge of the demolition site – Workspace Design and Build Ltd – were prosecuted for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. Both companies pleaded guilty and, at Manchester Magistrates Court, were fined £1,300 and £14,000 respectively.
Speaking after the Magistrates hearing, HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “The risks associated with the demolition of the internal walls at Portland Tower were not properly considered and, as a result, there was no safe system of work in place for the operatives to follow. Together with a lack of adequate supervision, these failings resulted in one man suffering serious and life changing injuries in a demolition site accident, which could have been prevented had the work been properly planned and managed.”