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February 16, 2024

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Company fined £450k and director and site manager sentenced following death of labourer

A company has been fined £450,000 and the firm’s director has received a suspended prison sentence after a labourer was crushed to death at a construction site.

Oleksander “Sasha” Rudyy, 49, had been removing supporting metal bars with an angle grinder as part of a large-scale renovation project involving three bordering sites when the structure collapsed. He was not aware the metal bars played a crucial role in supporting the structure. Mr Rudyy died at the development site in Hockley, Birmingham, on May 8, 2019.

Stonehurst Estates Ltd worked on the sensitive structure without a proper plan and sequence in place, despite safety measures being known and readily available to the company.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that none of the men working on the building, including Bychkov who was onsite at the time, had any expertise in demolition work, and there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for the task Mr Rudyy was undertaking.

“Needlessly lost his life”

On 15 February, Simon Briggs, 61, Principal Director of Stonehurst Estates Ltd, was sentenced to 23 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, for section 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, in that the related offence committed by Stonehurst Estates Ltd was attributable to neglect on the part of Mr Briggs.

Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Although he was not onsite when this tragedy took place, as director of Stonehurst Estates, Simon Briggs owed a duty of care to Mr Rudyy for any work carried out.

“He and his company failed to plan and carry out the demolition safely, which led to tragic consequences where a man needlessly lost his life.”

The standard of care granted to Mr Rudyy by the company was described as “woeful” by a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) expert.

The prosecution had followed an investigation by West Midlands Police and the HSE.

Site manager had “no expertise in demolition”

Site foreman Vasyl Bychkov, 45, was also sentenced to 130 hours of unpaid work after previously pleading guilty to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others at the site.

The company, Stonehurst Estates Ltd, was fined £450,000 after pleading guilty to corporate manslaughter and section 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, in that it failed to discharge the duty imposed upon it by virtue of regulation 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 where, as a contractor, it failed to plan and carry out the demolition or dismantling of a structure in such a manner as to prevent danger. The firm was also ordered to pay costs of £167,601.

Ainslie added: “As site manager on the day in question, Vasyl Bychkov, who had no expertise in demolition, asked Mr Rudyy to undertake a task that lacking sufficient expertise, [which] was inherently dangerous. He failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of labourers working at the site.

“Our thoughts remain with Mr Rudyy’s family and friends at this time.”

Following this prosecution, Stonehurst Estates Limited released this statement:

‘On 17th January 2024 Stonehurst Estates Limited pleaded guilty to a charge of corporate manslaughter, contrary to section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

‘The charge arose out of the collapse of a building in Vittoria Street, Birmingham on 8th May 2019.  The company had been carrying out demolition work at the site. The building collapsed on Oleksander Rudyy (aged 49) who was working there and killed him. The company admitted that its gross failures to take reasonable care for the safety of Oleksander Rudyy caused his death.

‘On 15th February 2024 in respect of the offence of corporate manslaughter the company was fined a total of £450,000 and ordered to pay £167,601.86 in costs.

‘The company was also ordered to publish this notice of its conviction.’

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Ian
Ian
1 month ago

Scandalous a 23 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months. He should have been jailed for at least 10 years.

Ian
Ian
1 month ago

These are the sort of things you expect to see abroad NOT here in the UK.