Turner Access Higher Safety Total Access
Total Access Ethentic Chipmunk Data
Chipmunk Data Turner Access Ethentic

CLIENT FAILED TO ENGAGE COMPETENT CONTRACTOR

Demolition death provides client contractor competence check wake-up call

Moor Park Charitable Trust Ltd, which operates a boarding school, has been ordered to pay £40k in fines and prosecution costs after a workman died when a building collapsed during demolition of a school building in August 2007. Moor Park School, in Shropshire, had arranged for a team of inexperienced building workers to demolish a large wooden classroom.

The HSE Investigation revealed that there was no effective demolition plan in place. When integral supports within the classroom structure were removed the roof collapsed while five men were inside the building.

The court heard from James Puzey, prosecuting on behalf of HSE, who said the trust had not taken proper steps regarding duties under the CDM Regulations as regards the competence of those engaged by the school.

Multiple deaths avoided by pure chance

Mark Evans, aged 40, of Ludlow suffocated when the 2.4 tonne roof collapsed on him. Four other men survived without serious injury due to the chance positioning of a dumper which was parked inside part of the building thereby creating an escape route.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that Moor Park School had arranged for self-employed general building worker, Mr Christopher Morris who was undertaking some minor roofing work on the site, to carry out the work.

He asked four other self-employed building workers to assist in the demolition even though none of them had training or relevant experience.

His Honour Judge Robin Onions was told that a member of the trust committee recommended Mr Morris for the demolition work. However the trust did not check whether he was qualified or competent to carry it out the work. The court heard there was no criticism of Mr Morris as a construction worker.

Clients must check competence

HSE inspector Nic Rigby said:

“There were five men inside this building when it collapsed. Mr Evans paid the ultimate price for the school’s failings. But for sheer good fortune, all five of them could have been killed.”

“But Mr Evans and the other workers should not have been put at such increased risk. Had Moor Park School taken reasonable steps to properly consider the demolition work, they would have appointed a competent and experienced contractor, and avoided the roof collapse.

“This awful event and the prosecution of the school must send a very clear message to all those who commission construction or demolition work. It must be properly planned and carried out by those with the experience and competence to do so.”

Comment

This tragic case has some important lessons. Firstly, it provides a wake up call for all construction clients and in particular the smaller and infrequent client.

The HSW Act 1974 and CDM Regulations 2007 together impose client duties regarding the competence and management of contractors. All clients must take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure contractors are competent to carry out the work for which they are engaged. On larger projects (30 days + duration) the client must appointed a CDM Co-ordinator (CDM-C) whose role includes assisting the client with such competence checks.

However, on smaller projects where a CDM-C is not a legal requirement the client must still take those reasonable steps on competence assessment. This case raises the question of how many other clients are failing to take such steps?

If clients do not possess in-house skills to assess contractor competence the ‘safest’ option may be to use the services of a CDM-C on all projects. Given the ongoing duty to manage contractors this may be the route chosen by an increasing number of responsible clients.

Secondly, the case shows how smaller projects present as much potential for multiple fatalities as larger projects. It was only a matter of luck that a parked dumper truck provided support for the falling roof and prevented more widespread injury and possible further deaths.

Those involved with major projects may see this case as further evidence that smaller projects and their clients / contractors should attract the lion share of regulator attention.

Latest Construction Health and Safety News

MAJOR CONTRACTORS LAUNCH H&S ALERT SYSTEM

Build UK members share information for effective prevention of harm

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th July 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 19th JULY 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th July 2017

STRUCTURAL SAFETY BODY LATEST NEWSLETTER

SCOSS publishes reports and expert comment on a range of issues

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 18th July 2017

SAFE SYSTEM DEVISED BUT NOT IMPLEMENTED

Workman injured by goods falling from double-decked trailer

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 18th July 2017

PREVENTION PLANNING REQUIRED FOR FRAGILE RISK

Fall arrest safety netting not used to mitigate fall consequences

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th July 2017

MANAGEMENT OF FORMWORK NOT UP TO THE MARK

Erector fell 3m after access scaffold board failed under load

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 17th July 2017

VIBRATION UNCONTROLLED & WORKERS UNINFORMED

Engineering firm fined £120,000 over hand-arm vibration risk

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 14th July 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 12th JULY 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 12th July 2017

SCAFFOLDER WAS UNTRAINED AND UNSUPERVISED

Contractor and director failed to train injured workman to CISRC scheme

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 10th July 2017

WORKPLACE MANSLAUGHTER OUTCOMES SET TO RISE

Guidelines target gross negligence with serious disregard and cost-cutting

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th July 2017

WORKMAN BURNT CLEANING WITH FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS

Flammable substance and unprotected electrical equipment trigger flash fire

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th July 2017

PUWER FAILINGS AND INJURY END IN £1,900,000 FINE

Massive fine after workman suffers friction burns caused by conveyor

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th July 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 5th JULY 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th July 2017

HSE REPORTS CONSTRUCTION DEATHS AT RECORD LOW

hselogo1Fatalities decline whilst asbestos related mesothelioma deaths rise

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 5th July 2017

CURSORY AND NEGLIGENT ASSESSMENT BY DIRECTOR

Building firm owner jailed after workman died in trench collapse

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd July 2017

UPDATE – DIRECTOR AND EXCAVATOR OPERATOR JAILED

Excavation collapse dangers ignored by director and digger operator

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd July 2017

HSE SAFETY ALERT: TRACK TENSIONING INCIDENT

hselogo1Workman died from hydraulic injection injury whilst tensioning track

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 30th June 2017

OXYGEN PIPE EXPLOSION CAUSED SEVERE BURNS

Components used containing materials unsuitable for use with oxygen

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 30th June 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 28th JUNE 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 28th June 2017

ROOF FALL CAUSES LIFE CHANGING INJURIES

Inadequate planning and absence of necessary equipment caused fall

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th June 2017

LIFT PLANNING AND CONTROL FOUND WANTING

Female building worker struck by scaffold fittings tipped from stillage

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th June 2017

FATALITY: CRANE COLLAPSE ON HOMES PROJECT

Two workmen die in crane collapse in Crewe

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 23rd June 2017

BUILD UK EXPLAINS PROJECT H&S TRAINING STANDARD

UK contractors clarify skill cards needed on CDM 2015 projects

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 21st June 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 21 JUNE 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 21st June 2017

CIVILS FIRMS PAYS PRICE OVER PUBLIC DANGER

Fencing wire struck member of public relaxing in own garden

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 20th June 2017
Turner Access Chipmunk Data
Total Access Ethentic
Higher Safety Turner Access