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Firms fined £30k after demolition goes wrong

A main contractor, subcontractor and client have been fined a collective total of £30,500 after a worker suffered multiple fractures when part of a building being demolished collapsed. 

Glasgow-based Allied Contracts was hired by client Taylor Grange Developments for the demolition and new-build project at the former Kilmacolm Institute in Inverclyde, Scotland, in 2015.

Allied Contracts subsequently hired Altan Plant Hire of Glasgow to carry out the demolition of the three-storey building.

However on 2 June 2015, workers with no demolition training were hand-demolishing internal walls when a wall and ceiling collapsed onto one of them, Paisley Sheriff Court was told.

One worker, Richard O’Hagen, was taken to hospital suffering fractures to his neck, back and ankle.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said its investigation found that Allied Contracts had “failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase to ensure that the demolition work was carried out without risk to health and safety”.

The HSE said the firm had “failed to appoint a demolition contractor who had the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to carry out the work safely, failed to regularly check standards of health and safety on site and failed to ensure that adequate welfare facilities were provided on site during the demolition work”.

Altan Plant Hire had “failed to plan the demolition safely and failed to take into account the risks to workers from structural collapse”, the HSE said.

On the client, Taylor Grange Developments, the HSE said it had “failed to make suitable arrangements for managing the demolition project, failed to make suitable arrangements to ensure that demolition work could be carried out without risks, failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal contractor they appointed complied with their legal duties and failed to ensure that adequate welfare facilities were provided”.

HSE principal inspector Graeme McMinn said: “This serious incident could have led to multiple fatalities and was caused by three separate duty holders not complying with their legal duties.”

He added: “This incident is a stark reminder of what can happen when clients, principal contractors and contractors fail to comply with their legal duties.”

Altan Plant pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15(7) and 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £20,000.

Allied Contracts pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(1) and (4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £6,000.

Taylor Grange Developments pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1), (2)(a) and (2)(b) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £4,500.

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