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Property developer convicted for unsafe working practices

Editorial Staff

A property developer in Manchester, England, has been convicted and sentenced after the roof and part of the rear wall of a building collapsed during demolition works. One might think that's kind of the point of demolition but not when it's done in an unsafe manner.

In a statement, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said "Riaz Ahmad appointed a group of workers, who had no experience in construction, to carry out demolition work at a property in Oldham. On 11 August 2017, after receiving a call from Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’s building control department, a HSE inspector visited the site and found almost all the internal walls and supports of the roof had been taken out. A Prohibition Notice was served preventing any further work and a major road running past the building was closed. A day later, it was agreed that there was no safe way of accessing the building and Oldham MBC obtained an order to demolish the building. It was soon after this that the roof and wall collapsed. "

The incident was attended by both the police and fire brigade and due to the dangerous condition of the structure the local authority, Oldham Borough Council arranged for an emergency demolition that day.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found the collapse could have been prevented had a principal contractor been appointed and a suitable risk assessment been carried out. These steps could have ensured the stability of the building during the demolition with regards to temporary works and control measures such as scaffolding. Ahmad did not suitably plan the work as he employed unskilled workers, neglected the risks from working at height and stability of the building, failed to provide them with basic welfare facilities and did not consider several health hazards.

Riaz Ahmad, of Dickenson Road, Manchester, was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 19 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for each offence (to run concurrently) and was order to pay prosecution costs of GBP65,000.

It was nothing short of a miracle that only one person was injured.
-- Judge, R v Ahmad, Riaz.

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