West Yorkshire businessman given community service after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches in court

A West Yorkshire company director has been prosecuted after a worker was crushed to death by falling concrete.

Norman Barry Ellis, director of Q Homes (Yorkshire) Ltd, pleaded guilty in Dewsbury Magistrates' Court of failing to ensure to health and safety of company employee Andrew Michael Bridges.

At the hearing yesterday the court ordered Mr Ellis to undertake 100 hours community service and to pay £6000 costs.

On 14 July 2005, Bridges and Ellis were working to demolish a 2.5 tonne reinforced concrete roof at the back of an old electrical store on the corner of Bradford Road and Eyre Street in Batley.

During this work Mr Bridges was fatally crushed beneath the falling concrete roof.

HSE Inspector Sarah Hague, who investigated the case, said: "This was a tragic incident, made worse by the fact that it could have easily been prevented had the work been properly planned. When embarking on any project such as this, which involves structural alteration and demolition work, it is a basic requirement for work to be carefully planned and risks assessed.

"The court was of the opinion that, in this case, a fine would not have reflected the seriousness of the offence. The way in which the work was carried out, which resulted in Mr Bridges' death, represented very serious failings on the part of Mr Ellis who had planned and was also carrying out the work."

Ellis was found guilty under sections 2 and section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

There were 77 construction fatalities last year.