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MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FROM BUILDING COLLAPSE

Firm fined after floor collapse sent father and son falling two storeys 

Clark Brothers (Builders & Developers) Ltd has been prosecuted after a two workmen fell and were trapped when a building collapsed during renovation work in Bilton on 25 June 2012. 

Wolverhampton Magistrates heard that the father and son team were block-laying inside a former shop building when the second floor they were working on suddenly gave way.

The collapsing floor and block work ‘smashed’ through the first floor causing the two men to fall to the ground floor, leaving the father buried under rubble. The son had to pull him free before both were taken to hospital for treatment from where they were discharged later the same day after escaping with relatively minor injuries.

The collapse meant a section of the High Street had to be closed until a building control team had declared the structure safe.

HSE inspectors found that the refurbishment project was unsafe and immediately issued a Prohibition Notice stopping any further work at the site.

Firm made a number of serious errors

The court heard that Clark Brothers did not properly plan and supervise the work, and, failed to take suitable measures to protect those that may have been affected by the work whilst the building was being renovated.

Clark Brothers (Builders & Developers) Ltd of High Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,844 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Cooper said:

“Clark Brothers (Builders & Developers) Ltd made a number of serious errors in attempting to undertake this work without proper planning, training and supervision.

Nobody at the company had any refurbishment experience and no proper health and safety related training. Their failure to manage this project placed workers and the public at serious risk.

A floor collapse, as with any unplanned demolition work, presents very serious dangers that can result in serious or fatal injury. The fact the father and son escaped relatively unharmed in this collapse is remarkable.

The uncontrolled collapse of the building also posed a risk to members of the public who were out on the High Street that morning.”

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