Demo contractor failed to properly plan and managed high risk project
Wrexham Demolition & Dismantling Ltd has been fined £30,000 after two workers were injured when a mezzanine floor collapsed in September 2008.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that two workers were dismantling the internal structure of a building at the former factory on Ocean Way in Cardiff. A mezzanine floor was to be demolished and most of the floor was removed without incident. An alternative method was required for the final section which was significantly different and more complex.
The company failed to recognise and adapt to the different hazards inherent in the revised system of work leading to a collapse of one section, trapping workmen. One man sustained cracks to his spine and lost the toes and ball of his left foot resulting in him needing a prosthesis. His colleague suffered multiple fractures to his arms, a dislocated elbow and cracked ribs, as well as severe bruising to his back and kidneys.
The court was told the method of work chosen to demolish the last part of the floor was unacceptable and dangerous. HSE investigators found that the specific requirements of the job were not adequately assessed, planned and supervised.
Prematurely collapse entirely foreseeable
Wrexham Demolition & Dismantling Ltd of Tank Farm Road, Llandarcy, Neath Port Talbot pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,074.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Wayne Williams said:
“Demolition work is recognised as being a particularly dangerous activity. As a result, it is essential that the work is properly planned and managed, and then carried out in accordance with a robust and safe system of work.
Two employees were involved in pre-weakening the supporting pillars of a section of mezzanine floor when it collapsed upon them. The direct cause of the accident was the choice of a totally unacceptable and dangerous method of work to demolish this part of the floor section.
The likelihood of the floor prematurely collapsing due to this work was entirely foreseeable but it had not been taken into consideration. Both men sustained serious injuries as a result of being struck by the falling masonry and if it were not for their quick thinking, and large element of good fortune, this incident could quite easily have had fatal consequences.”