MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Workman Crippled in Building Collapse

Serious Spinal Injuries leave Demolition Worker in a Wheelchair

Safe working practices on construction sites have again been called into question by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a company was prosecuted following a building collapse, which resulted in a workman being confined to a wheelchair.


A court heard that Carl Bold, a groundwork labourer, was working on a construction site at Ivanhoe Road, Aigburth, Liverpool.


Urbisity Ltd was converting two Victorian properties with rear extensions into eight apartments.


As part of the project, there was the need for significant excavation work. However, the foundations of the extensions were shallower than those of the main properties, and were undermined during the excavation work for the new drainage.


As a result, on 24 August 2004, the extension to 35 Ivanhoe Road collapsed, and Mr. Bold, who was working close by, was trapped and crushed by falling masonry.


Mr. Bold suffered serious spinal injuries as a result of the accident and has since been confined to a wheelchair.


The HSE prosecuted the company, alleging that it had failed to ensure the provision and maintenance of a system of work that was safe and without risk to employees during the construction work.


The prosecution alleged that the company had failed to:

  • carry out a structural survey, which should have identified the depth and condition of the foundations to the extensions.  
  • properly manage the refurbishment project, e.g. by conducting risk assessments.
  • supervise those carrying out drainage work on site at the time of the accident.
Urbisity Ltd was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,928, pleading guilty to a breach of s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 which covers the duty of the employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all the employees.