Director jailed for three years after demolition death

Grant Prior 5 years ago
Share

A County Durham construction boss has been jailed and a Tyneside firm and one of its directors fined after a demolition worker fell to his death from a cherry picker that was knocked over by a falling roof beam.

Ken Joyce, 53, of Lanchester, County Durham, was working for Allan Turnbull, trading as A&H Site Line Boring and Machining, when the incident happened on 2 December 2008.

He was dismantling the structural steelwork of the roof of the Burning Hall at the Swan Hunter Shipyard in Wallsend, Newcastle.

During a four-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, a jury heard how Joyce was working from one cherry picker while two colleagues were working from another cherry picker and a crane.

They were dismantling the structure and were using a crane to lower the steel beams to the ground.

While removing a beam brace connecting two plate girders, one of the plate girders struck the basket of the cherry picker in which Joyce was standing, knocking the equipment over.

Joyce fell to the ground below and suffered serious head injuries. He was pronounced dead soon after.

A joint investigation carried out by Northumbria Police and the HSE established that North Eastern Maritime Offshore Cluster Ltd (NEMOC) had subcontracted the dismantling work to Allan Turnbull.

The jury was told that NEMOC and its director Christopher William Taylor failed to ensure the safety of its employees and sub-contracted workers by neglecting to check that Turnbull had the necessary competence to carry out the work.

The investigation also found that Turnbull had failed to adequately plan the work after identifying a lack of suitable and sufficient lifting plans to ensure a safe system of work was in place for the dismantling of the structural steelwork.

Turnbull, 61, of Tow Law, County Durham, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter following the trial after pleading guilty earlier to safety breaches.

He was sentenced to three years in prison.

North Eastern Maritime Offshore Cluster Ltd (NEMOC), which had been operating from the Swan Hunter Yard, was fined £1 for each offence after it was found guilty of safety breaches.

The company is now in liquidation.

Christopher William Taylor, 51, of Newcastle, was found guilty of safety breaches and was fined a total of £30,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs.

After the case, which was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, HSE Inspector Emma Scott, said: “This was a tragedy that could easily have been prevented had a safe system of work been in place.

“Instead Ken Joyce lost his life as a result of collective failures which included not preparing in advance a detailed plan of how the work should be carried out and no lifting plans to ensure the safe removal of the beams.

“Allan Turnbull was also prosecuted in November 2005 after an employee sustained serious leg injuries while dismantling a redundant brick manufacturing plant.

“I hope other companies can learn from this and ensure they take the necessary action to deal with the high risk involved with work of this nature.”

Chief Inspector Mark Anastasi, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is a tragic case. Ken left home to go to work and never returned.

“He left behind his partner Eva and his family who never saw him again. They have been very supportive of the investigation and have shown their love for Ken throughout.

“Swan Hunter shipyard formed a major part of the local community and sadly, at the end of an era, during the dismantling process Ken lost his life as a result of the mismanagement of the work.

“The failures from both the individuals and the company showed a total disregard for safe working practices.

“Ken’s employer failed to improve his work following a similar incident in 2005, yet he continued to perform dismantling work.

“This complex and lengthy enquiry has shown that Northumbria Police and the HSE, with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service, will work in partnership to ensure offenders are brought to justice.”

In a statement, Joyce’s family said: “As his family, we are striving to honour Kenneth’s memory and are still coming to terms with the void his absence has left in our lives over the past four years.

“Above all else we have hoped for justice for him and for the intensity of the sadness and grief created by his untimely passing, to ease and lessen with the aid of this justice, along with the healing passage of time.”

Latest news

McMullen Facades follows Lakesmere into administration

Firms circle to buy profitable cladding arm from administrators
7 hours ago

Clugston set to start £1.2bn Lincolnshire Lakes project

Excavation and engineering works set to begin early next year
5 hours ago

Sisk tipped for £88m Gatwick Airport hangar

Firm closes in on huge Boeing GoldCare hangar
10 hours ago

Willmott Dixon to build first Passivhaus secondary school

Builder to start work on £36m Harris Academy Sutton in the New Year
10 hours ago

Renew profit slides after £6.4m gas mains exit hit

Flowing AMP6 water work boosts engineering services revenue
6 hours ago

18 jobs at risk as London roofing specialist fails

Essex-based Superior Roofing & Building Services placed in administration
10 hours ago

Accounting watchdog launches probe into Mitie’s books

Investigation into preparation and approval of contractor’s 2016 financial statements
1 day ago

Severfield to supply small steelwork fabricators

Half-year profits soar as Severfield unveils plan to supply steel to small project
10 hours ago

£200m funding green light for Midland Metro extension

Theresa May launches £1.7bn city transport funding pot
1 day ago

Lendlease confirms £440m order for two London jobs

Order book swells with major Euston office revamp and 43-storey Pan Pacific hotel and flats
1 day ago

Chancellor vows to build 300,000 homes a year

Treasury reported to have found £5bn boost for housing schemes
1 day ago

Union demands urgent talks over threat to Carillion jobs

Union Unite seeks meeting after profit warning and latest debt figures
1 day ago

Over 80 jobs lost as historic builder goes under

Around 80 job losses as Knowles & Son (Oxford) falls into administration
1 day ago

Clancy Docwra breaks even as profits slide

Civils firm caught in two significant contractual disputes
1 day ago

Wates bags one of Birmingham’s tallest resi buildings

Developer Regal signs £32m deal for second tower at Broad Street
1 day ago

Green light for Salford resi block trio

Developer Select Property will pick a contractor for Embankment West by the Spring
1 day ago

GF Tomlinson wins £16m Nottingham Uni biosciences job

Work is due to start on new laboratories and lecturer theatre in early 2018
1 day ago

Carillion warns on profits again as it breaches banking covenants

Contractor asks for more time from lenders as debts set to soar up to £925m
4 days ago

T Clarke powers ahead on London major project wins

M&E specialist boasts strong orders for next two years despite Brexit fears
4 days ago

Kier wins £35m Clydebank hospital project

Kier to start work early next year on first of two treatment centres for Golden Jubilee hospital
4 days ago

M&E specialists suffering from blight of retentions

Nearly a third of firms have up to 10% of their turnover locked-up in retentions
4 days ago

15 councils face action over local housing plans

Government set to intervene to force through local housebuilding plans
5 days ago

Betting Spy: Winning start for the Moyes boys?

West Ham are worth a go at 5/2 to turn up for their new boss
5 days ago

North to get own transport spending powers

Plan to give Transport for the North statutory powers from April a game-changer
5 days ago

White collar skills crisis strangling construction

Nearly two thirds of companies can't find Quantity Surveyors
5 days ago

Winvic bags £40m Nottingham build to rent scheme

Construction to start this month on 350-home scheme
5 days ago

Government rethink over £130m Balfour lorry park

Current plans dropped as Highways England goes back to the drawing board
5 days ago

Green light for £270m Swindon leisure complex

Work to start next year on North Star ski centre, hotel and cinema complex
5 days ago

£60m+ offsite secondary school bundle out to bid

ESFA plans trio of £20m-plus secondary schools projects using modular construction
5 days ago

British Land to start £200m London office revamp

Regent's Place office to be enlarged in major revamp near Euston
5 days ago

Contractor services