July 27, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources


Wall collapse led to worker’s death

A north-east based company has been fined following the death of an employee after a wall collapsed on to him.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard how 43-year old Radcliffe, an employee of Mike Neesam & Son Limited, had been working on a toilet refurbishment project on Hall Hill Farm County Durham.

When he attempted to walk out of a shallow trench, he was struck and crushed by a collapsing wall weighing approximately 2.2 tonnes.

Mr Radcliffe died as result of crush injuries.

The HSE’s investigation nto the circumstances of the incident found the company had failed to take the appropriate measures to prevent structures from collapsing; it was found the wall in question was left unsupported at the time of the incident and put employees at risk of harm.

Mike Neesam & Son Limited of Coundon Industrial Estate, Bishop Auckland pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,928.28. A victim surcharge of £120 was also ordered.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, Andrew Woodhall, said: “The company failed to identify the risks associated with free standing walls and as a result this ultimately cost Mr Ratcliffe his life.

“This tragic case should act as a reminder to all duty holders that appropriate safety measures need to be taken to protect employees at all times.”


Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

Related Topics

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Frank Sheppard
Frank Sheppard
3 years ago

Not fully aware of the circumstances surrounding this incident but £120 victim surcharge can only be described as derisory to the victims family and does not give real value to the deceased or his family shockingly insensitive and emphasises the feeling of the families left behind that the life of an ordinary worker has no real value reminds me of the song
Macalpines fusiliers A worker fell down a flight of stairs the foreman’s response was I am a navvy short fill the gap.

peter Tanczos
peter Tanczos
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank Sheppard

The sentencing and costs awarded also appear to be at the level of fines awarded prior to the new sentencing guidelines being introduced. All I can think is that company turnover is so low that this level of fine is actually significant. It’s not that much more than the award against a company that has gone into liquidation.