Construction Company Fined for Operating Unsafe Demolition Site

This case shows you should not be only concerned about a visit by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) but you should be aware that at any point members of the public can report your working practices to the HSE if they feel it is necessary.

Bodmin Magistrates’ Court heard how in December 2017, there was public concern a building on Webber Street, Falmouth was being demolished unsafely. Some members of the public sent photographs to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which showed dangerous working practices taking place at the site.

For example, workers could be seen standing on top of the building trying to demolish it with no measures ensuring they were working at height safely. The pictures also suggested there was a risk the workers could fall through the building as it was in the process of demolition or even fall off the building. The demolition was also not sufficiently fenced off from the public.

Investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

On an unannounced visit, the HSE decided to prohibit all further demolition work while they investigated the working practices at the site.

The investigation found:

  • The safety practices fell significantly below the required standard
  • The buildings were being demolished in a dangerous manner and there was a lack of planning in terms of the structural stability of the buildings.
  • There was an absence of welfare facilities, risks assessments, demolition plans, or asbestos survey
  • There were numerous health and safety issues and the defendant appeared to not have the required level of skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the demolition.

As a result of the above findings, Thomas Sturgess of Lanviet, Bodmin pled guilty to breaching Regulation 20(1) of Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015.  He received a 180 hour Community Order and ordered to pay costs of £9,428.84.