A demolition contractor in Aberdeen has been fined £40,000 after a worker narrowly escaped with his life… thanks only to his hard hat.
Valentin Taljanov, 61, was seriously injured by falling cast iron guttering during the demolition of disused buildings at Aberdeen Harbour on 16 July 2009. He broke his right arm, seven ribs, and a vertebra. He also punctured a lung and cut his head. But because of his head protection, he did come through the ordeal.
His employer, Lawrie [Demolition] Ltd, was prosecuted on Friday (14th February) after an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the Crown Office Health & Safety Division.
Peterhead Sheriff Court heard that Mr Taljanov was working with colleagues near a substantial piece of cast iron guttering that had been left unsupported for two days at roof height during the demolition of old offices and warehousing at the former Craig Group Buildings at the harbour. Mr Taljanov was moving roofing materials from a platform onto the ground when the guttering gave way and hit him.
The HSE investigation found that Lawrie failed to put in place a suitable system to identify hazards that might arise as works progressed, and failed to plan and implement exclusion zones adequately in areas where materials could fall.
Lawrie [Demolition] Ltd, of Rigifa, Cove, Aberdeen, was fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 29 of The Construction [Design and Management] Regulations 2007.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Liz Hunter said: “This incident was wholly preventable by taking down the guttering in one go and it was probably only Mr Taljanov’s hard hat that prevented him from being killed.
“Lawrie (Demolition) Limited failed to review the constantly changing risks that are created during demolition work. Exclusion zones were not enforced to keep staff out of areas where materials could fall, despite there being two supervisors on site and regular site visits by management. I want demolition firms to learn from this incident. There is no room for complacency and regular risk reviews are essential for site safety.”
Lawrie [Demolition] Ltd is part of the Leiths Group that operates quarries, road re-surfacing and plant hire companies in the north east of Scotland.