Demolition companies fined after a labourer is killed by a falling steel prop Demolition companies fined after a labourer is killed by a falling steel prop RSS feed
Two demolition companies have been fined a total of £115,000 after a labourer was killed by a falling steel prop. Essex based John F Hunt Demolition Ltd and Bayoak Demo Ltd of London both pleaded guilty to Health and Safety breaches concerning the death of 29-year-old Rafał Przestrzelski in 2005.
The Central Criminal Court, (Old Bailey) heard Mr Przestrzelski, 29, of Wood Green, London N22, was employed as a labourer by demolition sub-contactor Bayoak Demo Ltd. The project was managed by John F Hunt Demolition Ltd, acting as principal contractor.
On 25 July 2005, Rafał Przestrzelski was told to remove a number of steel (Acrow) props supporting a slab of concrete, during the demolition of Telstar House in Paddington, London. Originally there were 13 props, but as each one was removed the load increased on the remainder until the final one was carrying the entire load. When the props were removed, the concrete slab fell to the ground and an overloaded prop struck Mr Przestrzelski causing fatal internal injuries.
The subsequent joint Metropolitan Police and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a full structural survey of the section of the building being worked on was not undertaken.
The investigation discovered a section of a partially demolished link-bridge structure collapsed when the props supporting it were removed by Mr Przestrzelski. They found a collapse was inevitable as the structure was not physically tied onto the building as was assumed by the management.
John F Hunt Demolition Ltd of Europa Park, London Road, Grays in Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974, at the Central Criminal Court, (Old Bailey), on 27 January 2010. The company was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.
Bayoak Demo Ltd, of Clare Gardens, Barking in London, also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974, at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, on 1 February 2010. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 in costs.
Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
After the sentencing HSE Inspector Giles Meredith said: “This was a lengthy joint investigation between the Metropolitan Police and HSE, which found Rafal Przestrzelski was the innocent victim of a basic error of judgement by others that cost him his life. There are lessons to be learned both about the importance of carrying out detailed surveys and also about making sure that the right people are consulted at the right time. The price of making an ill-informed decision about the structure was enormous."
Howard Cohen, reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "This case clearly demonstrates that there will be consequences for companies if they do not uphold the necessary safety standards. The breaches in this case had the most serious and tragic of outcomes. The CPS takes health and safety offences very seriously and will consider prosecution of any company that fails to protect employees and others with whom they come into contact."