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A buidling site labourer who was seriously injured in a work accident after being hit by a collapsing roof could claim compensation for his personal injuries.
Stafford Magistrates' Court heard the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was working on a building site when, out of nowhere, part of the classroom roof he was helping to demolish fell without any warning.
The labourer was seriously injured sustaining fractured ribs, a broken shoulder, a broken nose, multiple shattered teeth and severe swelling to the head. Upon being hit by collapsing debris he was immediately knocked unconscious. Two other workers were also trapped under the rubble, but were able to quickly free themselves and were uninjured.
A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation launched into the incident concluded that extensive stripping of the walls by sub-contractor CMR Demolitions had significantly reduced the room's load-bearing capacity. This, along with strong winds, resulted in the partial-collapse.
Additionally, the demolitions company did not seek the opinion of a structural engineer during the work, meaning rotting timbers at the base of the building's frame were not spotted or addressed.
The poor quality of the structure's frame actually meant that the much simpler, safer method of mechanically pushing the building over could have been employed by CMR Demolitions.
Primary contractor Thomas Vale Construction admitted failings to magistrates after HSE inspectors found the company had failed to conduct a thorough risk assessment for the project.
The building firm also failed to check whether CMR Demolitions were qualified to carry out the job.
Thomas Vale Construction pleaded guilty to one health and safety breach and was fined £6,600 and ordered to pay £6,117 in costs. CMR Demolitions pleaded guilty to two violations and was ordered to pay the same amount in costs on top of a £9,900 penalty.
HSE inspector Andrew Bowker said: "CMR Demolitions made serious errors and the collapse occurred through a lack of planning and understanding of the structural stability of the classrooms.
"The company allowed their staff to work in extremely dangerous conditions. Had they employed a structural engineer this incident could have been avoided."
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