Private School Caused Worker Death

School Handed £25k fine

09.09.2010

A boarding school that used a team of inexperienced workers to dismantle an old classroom and ended up causing the death of one of them, has been fined following a health and safety prosecution.

In August 2007 the five workers removed important support sections of the wooden classroom's integral structure which led to the roof collapsing on top of 40-year-old Mark Evans, who suffocated.

Safety officials began investigating Moor Park School in Ludlow, Shropshire, which charges £15,000 a year for pupils to be educated, and showed that its governing board had not come up with an effective plan for the work.

The 2.4-tonne roof fell down while the workers were still inside. The only reason no more were badly hurt or killed was because a dumper had been parked at a section of the classroom, offering a lucky escape route for the remaining workers.

HSE inspector Nic Rigby said: "This awful event and the prosecution of the school must send a very clear message to all those who commission construction or demolition work. It must be properly planned and carried out by those with the experience and competence to do so."

Moor Park Charitable Trust, which manages the school, admitted breaking Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It was handed a £25,000 fine and told to pay prosecution costs of £15,000.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

David Urpeth at Law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This tragic, fatal accident could and should have been avoided. The construction industry is the industrial sector where the workers are most likely to be seriously injured or killed following a work accident.  As such, employers and those responsible for planning work need to ensure that workers safety is paramount. With a sensible level of care surrounding the implementation and the carrying out of work, the misery caused following an accident at work can be avoided."