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UNCONTROLLED COLLAPSE CAUSED WORKER DEATH

Demolition firms failed to plan, manage and monitor works

Two associate companies, 777 Environmental Limited and 777 Demolition and Haulage Co. Limited, have been fined a total of over £1/4m after the a workman died when he was struck by falling concrete joists during demolition work in London in August 2007.

John Walker, an electrician, was working near two remote controlled demolition machines which were breaking through a structural beam when several concrete joists were dislodged striking Mr Walker who died at the scene.

Southwark Crown Court was told the companies failed to prepare or implement an effective and safe system of work for the demolition, which ultimately allowed for an uncontrolled collapse to take place.

Planning, review and supervision required during demolition

HSE explained that as the Principal Contractor, it was the duty of 777 Demolition and Haulage Co. Limited to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of those not in its employ but affected by its work on site.

777 Environmental Limited as subcontractor and employer of Mr Walker failed to properly investigate the nature of the structure as demolition proceeded which led to the uncontrolled collapse.

Robust exclusion zones were not implemented which “allowed a wholly foreseeable risk to have fatal consequences”. It admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, at an earlier hearing and was fined £90,000.

777 Demolition and Haulage Co. Limited of Croydon, Surrey denied the charges but was found guilty, after a trial, of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £125,000.

Costs of £167, 857 were awarded to HSE.

After the sentencing, HSE Principal Inspector Dominic Elliss said:

“This was a tragic incident by any standards, and robbed a family, friends and colleagues of John Walker. I hope this case sparks renewed focus by all in the construction industry on the importance of effective planning, constant review and robust supervision throughout demolition works.

There are clear responsibilities laid down in law for all dutyholders undertaking construction works. It is vital that they all play their role effectively to manage risk and prevent entirely avoidable loss of life at work.”

 

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