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    DEMOLITION FIRM OWNER FINED OVER FALL FROM STRUCTURE

    Failure to use safer methods leaves workman paralysed in nursing home 

    The North Eastern Demolition Company (David Brian Riseborough t/a) has been prosecuted after a workman was paralysed following a 6m fall from the roof of a Sunderland public house in June 2010. He now requires permanent care in a nursing home.

    Mr Riseborough’s firm was demolishing the building and removed the slates and timbers by hand from pitched roof. A mobile access platform provided access for the workers and was used as a barrier to prevent falls from the roof edge although it did not cover the length of the roof.

    HSE told Sunderland Magistrates that it was unnecessary for any work at height to be carried out at all. The demolition could have been carried out using a 360 degree mechanical excavator present on site. 

    Mr Riseborough should also have implemented additional controls to provide a safe system of work but many of these controls were lacking or ineffective.

    Structure could have been safely demolished by remote mechanical means

    David Brian Riseborough, 67, of Sunderland was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,434 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

    Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Keith Partington, said:

    “The building could have been safely demolished by remote mechanical means using the excavator that was on the site – without the risks to the public, which the defendant claimed was the reason for manually dismantling the roof.

    In choosing to undertake the work at height the system the defendant used was not sufficiently robust enough to prevent one of his employees falling from the roof level to the ground which resulted in injuries that have left this worker in a condition whereby he now needs permanent care to assist him in his daily living.

    Falls from height are one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry the consequences of which affect not only the victims, but their families and the community and thus work at height should be planned for carefully, with suitable and sufficient instruction and supervision when executed.”

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