School fined after collapse kills rookie demo worker

Grant Prior 14 years ago
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A Shropshire boarding school has been fined £25,000 after a demolition worker was killed when a 2.4 tonne roof fell on top of him.

Four of the victim’s colleagues cheated death after a dumper truck on the site created an escape route for them when the roof caved-in.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Moor Park Charitable Trust Ltd which runs Moor Park School, after it arranged for a team of inexperienced building workers to demolish a large wooden classroom on 14 August 2007.

The HSE investigation revealed the workers had no effective plan in place and removed integral supports within the classroom’s structure, causing the roof to collapse while five men were inside.

Mark Evans, aged 40, of Ludlow suffocated when the roof, which weighed 2.4 tonnes, fell on top of him. Evans leaves behind his wife and teenage daughter.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that Moor Park School had arranged for a self-employed general building worker, Christopher Morris who was undertaking some minor roofing work on the site, to carry out the work.

He asked four other self-employed building workers to assist in the demolition even though none of them had training or relevant experience.

The school failed to make any reasonable enquiries into the competence of the men to undertake the demolition work prior to the work beginning.

HSE inspector Nic Rigby said: “There were five men inside this building when it collapsed. Mr Evans paid the ultimate price for the school’s failings. But for sheer good fortune, all five of them could have been killed.”

“But Mr Evans and the other workers should not have been put at such increased risk.

“Had Moor Park School taken reasonable steps to properly consider the demolition work, they would have appointed a competent and experienced contractor, and avoided the roof collapse.

“This awful event and the prosecution of the school must send a very clear message to all those who commission construction or demolition work. It must be properly planned and carried out by those with the experience and competence to do so.”

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