Ceiling collapses on demolition worker

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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A Grimsby demolition contractor has been fined for sending a worker into a partly-demolished building moments before the ceiling collapsed.

Grimsby Magistrates’ Court heard self-employed labourer Daniel Cope, 36, was part of a team demolishing the Old Fish House in Grimsby Docks, in May 2010.

After an excavator was used to pull down some asbestos-containing roof sheets, he and a fellow worker were sent in by a site supervisor from H. Cope and Sons (Demolition) Ltd to remove asbestos debris to reduce contamination of the rest of the rubble.

Shortly after going into the building, the left hand edge of the ceiling collapsed striking Cope on the head and sending him crashing to the ground.

He broke his knee and suffered severe bruising to his neck and shoulder. His colleague, who was working at the opposite edge, escaped unhurt.

H. Cope and Sons (Demolition) Ltd. of Moody Lane,Grimsby, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £7,500.

The HSE investigation revealed the company knew the joists supporting the ceiling were rotten and the asbestos sheets had not been removed before demolition as it was too dangerous to walk on the floor to get access.

Principal HSE Inspector Dave Redman said: “Sending two workers into a partially demolished building to sort roofing material brought down by machine very nearly resulted in a fatal incident.

“There was a large dent and crack in Daniel’s hard hat afterwards – a stark indication of how close he came to severe injury.

“As it is he suffered a badly broken knee and extensive bruising. His co-worker was fortunate not to have been injured by this collapse.

“Demolition is a dangerous activity that requires careful planning to assess the building structure to ensure a safe way of bringing it down.

“It’s common practice in the industry to prevent anyone entering a building under demolition because of the potential instability and falling debris. This firm disregarded recognised procedures and exposed workers to danger.”

Cope said: “A year on and the accident still has an impact on my life. I am now concentrating my energy and efforts into my recovery.”

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