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Two demolition contractors fined £115,000 after worker death

15 Feb 10 TWO demolition contractors have been fined a total of £115,000 after a labourer from Wood Green was killed by a falling steel prop.

TWO demolition contractors have been fined a total of £115,000 after a labourer from Wood Green was killed by a falling steel prop.

Essex-based John F Hunt Demolition and Bayoak Demo of London both pleaded guilty to Health and Safety breaches concerning the death of 29-year-old RafaÅ? Przestrzelski in 2005 on Friday.

The Old Bailey heard Przestrzelski was employed as a labourer by demolition sub-contactor Bayoak Demo on a site managed by John F Hunt Demolition, the main contractor.

On 25 July 2005, Przestrzelski was told to remove a number of steel props supporting a slab of concrete, during the demolition of Telstar House in Paddington.

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 Przestrzelski, causing fatal internal injuries.

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The subsequent joint police and Health and Safety Executive 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 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 pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act on January 27 and was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.

Bayoak Demo, also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety Act on February 1 and fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 in costs.

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."

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