HSE prosecutes boarding school after it hires five inexperienced workers to demolish a classroom

A boarding school in Shopshire has been fined £25,000 after a worker was killed while demolishing a building on the site.

The 40-year old worker suffocated when the roof, which weighed 2.4 tonnes, fell on top of him. Four other men survived without serious injury thanks to a dumper truck which was parked inside part of the building and created an escape route.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Moor Park Charitable Trust which runs Moor Park School, after it arranged for a team of inexperienced building workers to demolish a large wooden classroom on 14 August 2007.

The HSE investigation revealed the workers had no effective plan in place and removed integral supports within the classroom’s structure, causing the roof to collapse while five men were inside.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that Moor Park School had arranged for a self-employed general building worker, Mr Christopher Morris who was undertaking some minor roofing work on the site, to carry out the work.

He asked four other self-employed building workers to assist in the demolition even though none of them had training or relevant experience. The school failed to make any reasonable enquiries into the competence of the men to undertake the demolition work prior to the work beginning.

HSE inspector Nic Rigby said: “There were five men inside this building when it collapsed. Mr Evans paid the ultimate price for the school’s failings. But for sheer good fortune, all five of them could have been killed.

“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.”