The 53-year-old father of two from Salford was employed as a labourer at the site of a refurbishment project at Manchester One, Portland Street Manchester when the incident occurred on 29th August 2014.
The incident was investigated by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which subsequently prosecuted 2017 Workspace Design & Build Ltd, the principal contractor for the project, and Paul Harrison, former director of Access Flooring Specialist Ltd, for serious safety failings.
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how two operatives working for Access Flooring Specialist Ltd had started the demolition of a freestanding concrete block wall on the site using a demolition hammer.
One of the men had started to cut into the wall just above the half-way point, when the second man took over and continued from the top using step ladders for access. As he did so, the top half of the wall collapsed, knocking him from the ladder and landing on top of him.
The injured man suffered fractures to his neck and back and spent three months in hospital following the incident. He has been unable to return to work since.
The HSE investigation found that there was no suitable risk assessment in place for the work that was being carried out and the workers had not been provided with suitable work instructions. In addition, no checks had been made regarding the worker’s training or experience, he was not provided with a site induction or adequate PPE for the task and the work on site was not supervised.
Workspace Design & Build Ltd of Manchester One, Portland Street, Manchester pleaded guilty to breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,972.
Paul Harrison of Kirkfell Drive, Tyldsley, Manchester pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 relating to his companies’ breach of Regulation 13 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was fined £1,300 and ordered to pay costs of £2,851
HSE inspector Laura Moran said after the hearing: “The risks associated with the demolition of the internal walls at Manchester One were not properly considered and, as a result, there was no safe system of work in place for the operatives to follow.
“Together with a lack of adequate supervision, these failings resulted in one man suffering serious and life changing injuries, which could have been prevented had the work been properly planned and managed.”