An Aberdeen-based company has been heavily fined after one of its workers was seriously injured in an accident at work in 2009.
Mr Valentin Taljanov, 61, suffered the accident at work whilst he was contracted to Lawrie [Demolition] Limited. Mr Taljanov, who was working as a labourer for the company when he suffered the accident, was struck by falling guttering on 16 July 2009.
On the day in question, Mr Taljanov was working on demolishing disused buildings in Aberdeen Harbour. During the demolition process a substantial piece of cast-iron guttering was left unsupported for two days at roof height and, when Mr Taljanov was moving roofing materials from a platform onto the ground, the piece of guttering fell and struck him. As a result of the accident Mr Taljanov suffered a broken right arm, seven broken ribs, a broken vertebra, a punctured lung, and a cut head. The Health and Safety Executive and the Crown Office Health and Safety Division was notified of the accident and subsequently investigated. This investigation found that there had been substantial breaches of health and safety legislation, including a failure to implement a suitable system to identify hazards, and that they had failed to adequately plan and implement exclusion zones in areas where materials could fall. The investigation also identified that these failings may have caused or contributed to the accident and recommended a prosecution of the firm.
The case came to the Peterhead Sheriff Court on 14 February 2014, with Lawrie [Demolition] Limited pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 29 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was, as a result, fined £40,000 but was not ordered to pay costs.
HSE Inspector Ms Liz Hunter stated after the conclusion of the case: “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.”
Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Cases such as this one highlight the measures that companies should take – and especially construction companies – to safeguard the health and safety of their workers. A failure to do so can mean not only a potential prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive but also a potentially expensive and time-consuming personal injury claim from the worker injured by the company’s failures.”