Taylor Grange Developments (TGD) was the client for the project, which involved demolishing and clearing the redundant Kilmacolm Institute and shops, and replacing them with a new building comprising two ground floor rental units, residential flats above and a basement car park.
TGD had engaged Allied Contracts to act as the PC, which had appointed Altan Plant Hire to carry out the demolition work.
Paisley Sheriff Court was told that on 2 June 2015 inexperienced and untrained workers were demolishing the building by hand when an internal wall and ceiling gave way and fell on one of them. Richard O’Hagen was taken to hospital with fractures to his neck, back and ankle.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Altan Plant Hire had failed to provide a safe system of work as the workers were demolishing the structure with hand tools rather than mechanical equipment.
The company had failed to ensure the electrical supply had been isolated prior to work starting and had not planned for the safe removal of asbestos cement sheets.
In addition, there was no edge protection around holes in the floor and the welfare facilities were inadequate, the HSE said.
It found that PC Allied Contracts had not appointed a suitable and experienced demolition contractor and had failed to regularly monitor the safety and health standards on site and ensure the provision of adequate welfare facilities.
The investigation also found that as the client, TGD should have taken steps to ensure that Allied Contracts complied with its legal duties.
Altan Plant Hire was fined £20,000 after it admitted breaching regs 15(7) and 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 for employing workers who had not been trained and for failing to safely plan the demolition work.
Allied Contracts pleaded guilty to breaching regs 13(1) and 13(4) of the same regulations for failing to provide an induction session for workers, and for not planning, managing and monitoring the work to ensure it was carried out safely. It was fined £6,000.
TGD admitted breaching regs 4(1), 4(2)(a) and 4(2)(b) of the CDM Regulations 2015, which cover client duties for managing projects. It was fined £4,500.
HSE inspector Graeme McMinn said: “Altan Pant Hire used inexperienced and untrained workers to demolish the three-storey building. They wrongly decided to use hand methods to demolish the building when remote demolition by machine was a much safer option.
“Allied Contracts failed to appoint a competent contractor who could carry out the work safely and then failed to make any checks on how the work was done.
“Taylor Grange Developments, as client, set the tone for the project by failing to make suitable arrangements to ensure the demolition work would be carried out safely and failing to ensure that the principal contractor they appointed was complying with their legal duties.
“In addition, none of these duty holders ensured that the workers on site had access to toilets, washing and canteen facilities. This incident is a stark reminder of what can happen when clients, principal contractors and contractors fail to comply with their legal duties.”