Close up of a male medical worker applying a bandage to a patients's foot

Demolition Company Fined after Nearby Worker Injured by Window Panel

A demolition company has been prosecuted after a nearby worker was injured after stepping on waste materials. The company was demolishing properties on a residential street. Some of the waste items had spread into a garden of a neighbouring property and a worker from a loss assessor company was present at this property to take photographs of the problem. He stood on a broken window panel and his ankle and Achilles tendon were cut as a result. The demolition company, G O’Brien & Sons (Nationwide Demolition Contractors) Ltd, was fined £3000.  

The accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that the demolition company had failed to make sure the work was undertaken in a suitable manner to prevent danger occurring. It was also established that the work was not planned effectively to ensure the waste materials were contained properly within the site boundary, and unauthorised access to the site was not prevented. 

5 tips to help make sure your work activities do not affect the health and safety of others:

  1. Do a risk assessment to determine how your work tasks could potentially cause a health or safety issue to others in the vicinity. Think about how waste materials could enter neighbouring sites, or if items could fall from height onto people passing by, for example. 
  2. Put the necessary controls in place to protect other people. Ensure you have a secure site by putting a suitable fence in place. Put signs up to warn people of the dangers of unauthorised access. Keep all materials, tools and equipment well within the site boundary.
  3. Plan the work in advance, and work out the best places to store all items, including waste materials. Develop a step-by-step work plan for workers to follow. Inform workers who may be operating nearby of the contents of the work plan, and how this could impact on their activities.
  4. Prevent items escaping from the boundary or falling from height. Use chutes for moving waste from higher areas to ground level. Put nets and kickboards on scaffolding to prevent materials or tools from falling.
  5. Ensure good housekeeping measures are adhered to on site. Keep all items, including waste and debris, in neat piles and ensure they are removed from site as soon as possible.

It is important for all duty holders to assess and manage the risks associated with their work activities in relation to both their workers and any others who may be in the vicinity. Make sure you take all necessary steps to prevent harm occurring to any persons including members of the public and other workers operating nearby.