Property owner sentenced after wall collapses on builder

The owner of a barn in South Derbyshire has been sentenced and ordered to pay costs after a builder suffered a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain when a barn wall collapsed on him.

In October 2021, builder Steven Tyson was converting the barn into a holiday home when a stone gable wall collapsed on him. Tyson, who is 40 years old and a father of two, suffered a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain and multiple broken bones, including 11 ribs.

Tyson was also left blind in one eye and lost hearing in one ear.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the property owner, Nigel Edwards, had not carried out a structural assessment to the buildings before the work started. That meant no measures were taken to stabilise the building while work was ongoing.

Edwards also had no plan to dismantle the building safely, so workers and members of the public were at “risk of injury or death” from the collapse of the structures.

Tyson said the incident left him in “immense pain” and he had to start therapy to come to terms with the impact of what had happened. He added that he may never be able to work in the construction sector again.

Edwards, of Tutholme, Woodhouses, Melbourne, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 19(1) and 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. He was given a 12-month community order and told to complete 80 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay costs of £4,097.94.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Robert Gidman said: “It is vital that all demolition and dismantling is adequately planned and that a competent structural engineer is engaged by those in control of work where there is the risk of collapse of any structure.

“If this project had been planned effectively, engaging the right people at the right time to ensure a suitable, safe system of work was implemented, the life-changing injuries sustained by the injured person could have been prevented.”

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