Demolition companies have been given a reminder that they must ensure the safety of their workers at all times, after one firm was punished over an incident that took place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed details of the case in which a 33-year-old employee from Warrington was struck by a two-tonne concrete slab while driving an excavator. He had been working for Excavation and Contracting when the accident occurred in April last year.
It was the result of part of a stand at the sports venue collapsing and smashing down on to the cab of the vehicle being used by the unnamed employee.
As a consequence of the dramatic incident, the worker suffered fractures to both of his legs in numerous places, as well as severe cuts and bruises. The four-metre slab fell from the upper floor of the stand and struck his vehicle.
Following an appearance at Trafford Magistrates' Court last week, the company was ordered to pay a fine of £5,000 and prosecution costs of £12,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It also admitted to breaking the terms of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Among the issues that led to the fine were the organisation's failure to ensure its staff were safe at all times and the lack of a plan to carry out the work safely.
HSE inspector Alan Pojur admitted the man had been lucky not to lose his life when the concrete slab struck, adding: "His life was put in danger because Excavation and Contracting (UK) Ltd didn't plan the work properly. They should have arranged for a high-reach excavator to be used so that the stand could be demolished from a safe distance away. It was only after the incident that this safe method of work was implemented."
Some 50 construction workers were killed in 2010-11 as a result of accidents at work, according to HSE figures, illustrating the need to ensure maximum safety.