A construction company has been fined after a worker was killed when a concrete slab collapsed underneath him during a demolition project.
Southwark Court Court was told how on 14 April 2014, labourer Dainius Rupsys was working alongside an excavator operator at a site on Grosvenor Square in London which was being demolished so that 31 residential flats could be built.
Mr Rupsys had been burning through reinforcing steel bars to assist the excavator operator’s efforts to remove part of the re-enforced concrete slab when another worker alerted the supervisor that their work had made the structure unsafe and the demolition was paused.
However, the supervisor then ordered the removal of props supporting the remaining slab and less than ten minutes later it collapsed.
Mr Rupsys, the 360 excavator and its operator in the cab all fell with the slab. Mr Rupsys suffered severe head injuries and died at the scene, while the excavator operator injured his back.
The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in the weeks leading up to the incident, CCTV from overhead cameras showed demolition work had been carried out unsafely, Mr Rupsys was not adequately trained to use the oxy-propane lance and that he had no training on using the safety harness, which was not attached when the incident occurred.
McGee Group Limited of Middlesex, the principal contractors for the project, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
The company was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay £66,236.22 in costs.
Jeremy Sirrell a partner at Palmers and health and safety expert said: “Employers have a duty to check workers have sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and training before they allow them to use specialist equipment. This accident could have been avoided had sufficient due diligence been conducted.
“Our team of experts can help you to develop a strategy to protect your workforce from situations such as this.”
For help and advice on all aspects of health and safety law including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact us today.