Builder fined after building site death

A construction company and two directors have been fined after a prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive following the death of a member of the public a building site.
PIB (UK) Ltd and directors John Blankson and Steven Moore were fined £75,000 after Ed Dean died after plunging down a hole when he wandered onto the site in Brighton, after a night out in the early hours of June 30, 2008.

The defendents pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court to breaching health and safety guidelines. The site was a large house being turned into flats and, because it was not secured properly, Dean was able to wander in from the street.

He tripped over an unprotected edge and fell 2.4 metres into a basement courtyard. He was found dead later in the morning.

HSE Inspector Denis Bodger said: “Unmanned construction sites should be properly secured such that people and especially children cannot unknowingly wander into places of danger. Falls are the largest single cause of fatal accidents and serious injuries on construction sites. Sites can be easily and cheaply secured by providing suitable fencing or hoarding, using lockable gates and providing clear signage. Had PIB and its directors taken these simple precautions Edward Dean’s tragic death could have been avoided.”

“The HSE is calling upon building contractors and those clients having building work undertaken for them to ensure they are familiar with the law and implement the requirements of industry recognised safe practice before work starts. Only through proper understanding of the law, planning of the work and ensuring risks are properly controlled from the outset, will these tragic incidents be prevented. The directors of small companies need to understand that they can find themselves disqualified as well as fined.”

PIB, which pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,500.

Blankson, who was also the client for the project, pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. He was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,465.

Moore was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,500 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was disqualified as a director for five years.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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