The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Sunday, 18 August

Construction Death Down to Failed Practices

John Walker was an electrician, who worked for 777 Environmental and he was killed while working on a demolition site on Walworth Road, Elephant and Castle, where the Strata Building now stands.

Mr Walker was working on an area of the site near to a couple of remote controlled demolition machines in August 2007. The machines, in breaking through a structural beam, dislodged several concrete joists which struck the worker and he died at the scene.

The HSE prosecuted after it found the principal contractor, 777 Demolition and Haulage Co Ltd (the subcontractor), and also sister firm, 777 Environmental, failed to properly plan, manage and monitor the demolition of the structure.

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.

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

777 Environmental was the subcontractor and employer of Mr Walker and was brought in to undertake the demolition of the building. Its failure to properly investigate the nature of the structure as demolition proceeded led to the uncontrolled collapse.

By not having implemented robust exclusion zones this 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 of Beddington Lane, 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.

“This was a tragic incident by any standards, and robbed a family, friends and colleagues of John Walker,” declared Dominic Elliss, Principal Inspector, HSE. “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 duty holders 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.”

Picture: John Walker, an electrician, was killed during the demolition and clearance work for the Strata Building in the Elephant & Castle, London

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

Jail Time for Cost Cutting Killers. Whitbread in Hot Water Apology

Three company directors were jailed on May 19 following the death of a man who fell while working at a warehouse in Essex. Nikolai Valkov, 63, died in hospital after...

 Read Full Article
Safety Fines Reflect Size of Guilty Firms

A construction company has been fined £3/4 million for asbestos failings; another for a falling load crush; another for a trench collapse; and another for an...

 Read Full Article
Man Paralysed by Falling Pipes

An Essex company specialising in gas infrastructure have been fined after an employee suffered a serious injury when a pipe fell into the trench he was working in and...

 Read Full Article
Crushing Fine for Airport Death

A construction firm has been sentenced following the death of Philip Griffiths at Heathrow Airport in October 2014. Southwark Crown Court heard that Philip’s...

 Read Full Article
Falling Frames Kill Lawyer - Men Convicted

A man has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a woman walking past a construction site died when three window frames weighing more than half a ton...

 Read Full Article
One Dead, One Injured in Lift Car Plunge Tragedy

A company and a self employed contractor have been fined for safety failings after one man died and another was left seriously injured falling six storeys through a lift...

 Read Full Article
Falls and Walls Cost Constructors

Construction company Kier Construction Limited has been fined £400,000 after a worker fell from height. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how Jair...

 Read Full Article
Building Site Death and Star Wars Fine

A building contractor has been fined after a worker was killed when a load fell from a tower crane during a lifting operation in Colchester. Urban Summit Construction...

 Read Full Article
No Getting Off the Hook After Lift Pit Tumble

Cardiff based construction company, Jehu Project Services Ltd, sentenced on August 16 after a worker was seriously injured falling down a lift pit. The incident...

 Read Full Article
Train Spotting Leads to Fine

The owner and developer of a construction site in Raynes Park has appeared in court after an eagle-eyed HSE official twice noticed unsafe work at height from the carriage...

 Read Full Article