Two brothers from Sheffield have been fined and jailed for their failure to ensure safety on a construction job which led to three people suffering from injuries and a further twenty people temporarily homeless.
A three-storey terrace was the scene of a dramatic collapse due to the health and safety shortcomings of the pair which had caused destabilisation in the structure of the building. As part of a refurbishment project, the brothers were tasked with lowering the floor in the basement and the removal of several internal walls.
Due to their apparent lack of consideration for risk assessments and unsuitable training for such a large-scale project, the inevitable followed. A vital wall collapsed and caused the floors of the flats above to cave and inflict injury on three people. Twenty people were also left temporarily homeless as a result of the accident.
Both of the brothers were charged with a 12 month custodial sentence and ordered to pay a total of £182,000 in fines for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and other related breaches of construction regulations.
A HSE spokesperson said: “All three people injured in this avoidable incident were fortunate not to have been killed. One was saved by a table that had fallen across his body and shielded him from falling debris.
“When carrying out major building alterations it is imperative that skilled structural engineers are employed to advise on the temporary supports needed. It is equally important that competent contractors are then used to ensure that those supports are correctly used for the duration of the work.”
The judge overseeing the case was equally critical of the brothers’ failings: “It was little short of a miracle that more people were not seriously injured or killed. This was a very serious incident caused by your arrogance and greed.”
The property itself, a popular Indian eatery, had to be demolished by Sheffield Council following the controversy.