Six years in jail for building boss after fatal fall

Grant Prior 2 years ago
Share

A construction boss has been jailed for six years after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after two of his employees fell through a roof they were repairing.

Allan Thomson of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire and his company Building and Dismantling Contractors Ltd were also fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £55,000 court costs.

Building and Dismantling Contractors was subcontracted by main contractor C. Smith and Sons to demolish the Harvey’s and Carpetright buildings in Heaton Norris, Stockport in 2014.

Manchester Crown Court heard that a 47-year-old man sustained life-changing injuries and 42-year-old Scott Harrower died during the work.

Michael Smith of Rochdale and his company C. Smith and Sons (Rochdale) Ltd, were found guilty of safety offences.

Smith was jailed for eight months, fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 court costs.

The court heard it was originally planned that machinery would be used to remotely bring down the structure – a method that would have entailed minimum risk to those workmen tasked with the demolition.

But between winning the contract and the work actually being carried out, the decision was taken by Smith that the building should instead be dismantled piece by piece, meaning workmen would be required to work at height to remove the roof sheets prior to the structure being unbolted.

C. Smith and Sons then subcontracted the job of demolishing the roof to Building and Dismantling Contractors.

The roof of the building was made up of steel corrugated sheets with interspersed plastic skylights, which had deteriorated over time and had subsequently been covered with corrugated steel sheets in a bid to repair the damage.

On 20 January 2014 Harrower accidentally stepped through a skylight and nearly fell the 30 feet to the concrete floor below.

On that occasion he managed to prevent himself from falling, but the near miss did not prevent the men from returning to carry out their work the next day.

At just after 9am on Tuesday 21 January 2014, one of the group – a 47-year-old man – fell through a skylight to the concrete floor below, fracturing his spine, pelvis, right leg, heel and wrist.

Despite their colleague suffering horrific injuries, the men were ordered to return to the roof just hours later and at 4pm Harrower fell through a skylight to the concrete below.

He suffered catastrophic head injuries and died as a result.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Eales said: “First and foremost, our condolences go to the families of Scott and his colleague, who were the victims of both companies’ criminal negligence and who died in tragically preventable circumstances.

“It is clear from the evidence that both Smith and Thomson saw an opportunity to make a quick profit without any thought for the workers they sent on to the roof, and as a direct result of that greed Scott died and another man suffered life-changing injuries.

“Smith and Thomson’s remorse did not then stretch to admitting their guilt, as both tried to hide behind their companies and refused to plead guilty to the charges levelled against them personally.

“Thankfully, the jury saw through their attempts and both now can face justice for the decisions that they made, decisions that have robbed one family of a loving partner, father, and son, and another of a man’s ability to live a life untainted by severe physical injury.”

Latest news

MPs slam building inspection and materials testing regimes

Construction under fire for "conflicts of interest that are pervasive throughout the industry"
49 mins ago

London council scraps £2bn Lendlease deal

Haringey rips-up agreement with developer to build 6,400 new homes
3 hours ago

Crane driver breaks back on Balfour Channel Tunnel site

Accident during £120m contract to install electricity cable between Great Britain and France
19 hours ago

Bid race takes-off for London City airport terminal

Key main terminal expansion substructure and concrete works up for grabs
21 hours ago

Kier fined £600,000 after concrete block hits worker

Court hears how lack of supervision led to accident on rail bridge site
11 hours ago

Graham wins £90m Congleton link road

Project includes a 85m bridge over the River Dane
23 hours ago

SES lands £20m M&E deal at soft drinks bottling plant

Work to start this month powering major extension to Rugby factory
2 hours ago

Suppliers unable to contact demolition giant Cuddy Group

Calls to head office going unanswered
1 day ago

Over 1,000 staff still stranded at Carillion

Official Receiver investigators are sifting through 6bn rows of data
1 day ago

Balfour set for £60m Strathclyde Uni teaching hub

Firm lined up for first major job in £650m building programme
1 day ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
3 months ago

60 jobs axed as Somerset building contractor sinks

Long-established R G Spiller enters administration
1 day ago

Nine in 10 councils breaking prompt payment rules

Findings emerge on six month anniversary of collapse of Carillion
2 days ago

Roadworks speed limit could be raised to 60mph

Motorway trials to test different limits through highways sites
2 days ago

McLaughlin & Harvey lands £50m Liverpool training centre

Construction to start in October on new academy
2 days ago

Plans in for final phase of £1bn Chelsea Barracks scheme

Last phase includes 126 affordable homes, and separate sports and medical centres
2 days ago

Joiners injured in temporary access platform collapse

Court hears how two workers plunged seven metres through unsafe platforms at hospital site
2 days ago

Green light for £50m Portsmouth Uni sports centre

Sports hub is the first project in a £400m University upgrade plan
2 days ago

Wates wins £161.5m Wembley resi blocks deal from Quintain

Latest deal is Wates largest ever award on a single site
5 days ago

Construction’s most considerate contractors win ultra site awards

Latest initiative rewards highest industry site standards and supply chain collaboration
2 days ago

Go-ahead for 37-storey Leeds student tower

Work to start before the end of this year on landmark student tower
5 days ago

Construction degrees come under fire from students

Students claim courses fail to prepare them for life in the industry
5 days ago

McAlpine to start £30m Manchester biomedical hub

Work to start in September on Citylabs 2.0 building project
6 days ago

Roofer in six metre plunge on to solid concrete floor

Court hears how worker suffered multiple fractures after plunge on refurbishment job
5 days ago

Cost of industry skills cards set to rise in September

CSCS leaders confirm 20% price rise per card to £36
6 days ago

£300m Bristol Uni campus approved

Work due to start on Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus early next year
5 days ago

Crossrail’s Sir Terry Morgan to lead HS2

Morgan replaces David Higgins as HS2 chairman next month
5 days ago

Shake-up in cladding fire tests to cut wait times

New testing service launched as current capacity swamped post-Grenfell
6 days ago

£25m A55 improvement scheme gets green light

Contractor to be named shortly for 2.2km stretch of the A55 at Abergwyngregyn
6 days ago

Galliford Try starts £43m central Birmingham resi job

Works starts on three blocks of luxury flats at Windmill Hill
6 days ago

Contractor services