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DEMOLITION FALL PROSECUTION

Demolition contractor fined after fall from height 

A demolition contractor must pay some £20k in fines and costs and a director £5k after an electrician was seriously injured when he fell 5m. The HSE investigator said: “The risks of falls from height on this demolition project and the measures needed to control those risks had been identified on more than one occasion. The director had personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding or leading to this accident and he failed to take obvious steps to prevent it.”

The injured person entered a tower being prepared for explosive demolition when he stepped on a steel sheet covering an opening that gave way. The HSE investigation found that the health and safety plan contained risk assessments identifying precautions required but they were not implemented.

Comment: How familiar are these observations? All too often precautions are identified but not followed through with systematic implementation. There is no point in carrying out risk assessments if the required precautions are not put in place. It provides no practical protection for those at risk and will not help managers and directors trying to explain why a fully assessed risk has not been controlled. In the event of a death the investigators will look for further examples of management failure as part of a possible Corporate Manslaughter case.

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