Court hears agency worker accidentally killed own father

A building contractor has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,390 compensation over serious safety breaches that led to a 50-year-old agency worker’s death.

Dorchester Crown Court heard that Jamie Ford, aged 24, and his father Stephen Ford were working for Alaister Copland - trading as Do it Al - on the demolition of a barn near Blandford in Dorset in November 2008.

The hearing, instigated by the Health and Safety Executive, was told that while the younger Ford had been using a handtool to take down part of a cob wall a piece hit his father on the the head. He died of his injuries at the scene.

The HSE said neither worker had been wearing a hard hat, no plan of work for the demolition work had been in place, and that Copland had no experience of such demolition work.

Copland, of Queen’s Drive, Moreton, Dorchester, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Helena Tinton, said the case was a tragedy that demonstrated the dangers of carrying out demolition work without suitable planning.

“There were multiple failings with this project,” she said.

“In addition to having no written plan for the demolition work, there was inadequate supervision and no-one on site wore head protection.

“This demolition work should have been carried out remotely using machinery with clearly marked exclusion zones in place.

“In failing to plan and carry out the demolition of this building in a safe manner a family has suffered the devastating consequences of worker contributing to his own father’s death - an absolutely tragic situation.”