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    DEVELOPER AND DIRECTOR PUT PUBLIC AT RISK

    Demolition undertaken without surveys and effective safety precautions

    A building development company and its director have been sentenced after unsafe demolition work took place at a former pub in Bexley, South London on 22 June 2016.

    Westminster Magistrates heard that the former Ye Olde Leather Bottle pub was completely demolished without appropriate action taken to ensure members of the public were not in danger of harm.

    Haphazard and ultimately unsafe manner of work

    HSE investigators found no safe system of work existed at the time of the incident and particular:

    1. Asbestos – no asbestos survey before the demolition work began. Asbestos-containing materials present would, during the demolition, have caused asbestos fibres to be released and widely spread;
    2. Services – no arrangements for gas and electricity supplies to be properly disconnected by the appropriate bodies, leading to a potential risk of explosion or of electrocution of people on site; and
    3. Access – no measures, such as hoarding or fencing, to prevent access to the dangerous activity, or to prevent the ejection of materials from site.

    The building was on a busy road and pedestrians passing by, including primary school aged children going to and from a school 200 metres away, and traffic were all at risk.

    • Balmonza Ltd – of Woolwich Road, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £20,000 with £1000 costs.
    • Mr Kulvinder Singh – of Woolwich Road, London pleaded guilty to Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to £5000. He was ordered to pay costs of £1000.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Sue Parkyn said:

    “The work was done in a haphazard and ultimately unsafe manner. This was a very serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured as a result.

    It could so easily have been avoided by ensuring that someone competent was supervising the carrying out the demolition in a planned manner, in accordance with the law, relevant published guidance and British Standards.“

     

    SOURCE: EXTRACTS FROM HSE WEBSITE GUIDANCE ON THE MANAGEMENT OF DEMOLITION WORKS

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