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    MAJOR DEMOLITION CONTRACTOR FINED £500,000

    Collapse of concrete slab caused death of worker and excavator fall

    A construction company was fined £500,000 after a father-of-two died when a re-enforced concrete slab collapsed beneath him on a London demolition project in 2014.

    Southwark Crown Court heard that 33-year-old labourer Dainius Rupsys from Lithuania was working with an excavator operator to demolish a multi-storey building.

    Mr Rupsys was burning through reinforcing steel bars with an oxy-propane lance in order to facilitate removal of part of the re-enforced concrete slab by excavator. A co-worker alerted the supervisor that this work made the structure unsafe and the demolition was halted.

    The supervisor ordered the removal of props supporting the remaining slab and less than ten minutes later the slab collapsed. The Court heard that the 360 excavator may have moved back onto the slab after the props were removed. Mr Rupsys and the excavator, with operator in the cab, fell with the slab.

    Mr Rupsys suffered severe head injuries and died at the scene. The excavator operator injured his back.

    Failed to pay attention to what was happening

    HSE investigators found CCTV showed that, in the weeks prior to the incident, “demolition work had been carried out unsafely”. Mr Rupsys was not trained to use the oxy-propane lance. He was also not trained in use of fall arrest arrangements which were not used at the time.

    • McGee Group Limited – of Wembley, Middlesex, was the principal contractor for the project and pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £500,000 with £66,236,22 in costs.

    HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing:

    “In the weeks prior to this tragic incident workers were regularly put at an acute risk of falling. This is a case of a company wanting to have good systems to protect the workers, but not paying enough attention to what was actually happening at the site.

    This young man’s death could have been prevented. Mr Rupsys should not have been allowed to operate an oxy propane lance. Employers have a duty to check workers have sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and training before they allow them to use equipment.”

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