Developer and builder sentenced after wall collapse kills labourer

Jakub Fischer, a self-employed labourer, was hired as a subcontractor by North West Facilities Limited to work on a house refurbishment project for Thorndyke Developments Limited on Mansell Road, Liverpool.

The 41-year-old, who was originally from the Czech Republic, was tasked with demolishing a rear yard wall dividing the property from the neighbouring house on 5 June 2019.

That day, other workers on the job left the site at 3.30pm but when a neighbour returned home from work at around 5.40pm they saw Fischer trapped between an outer kitchen wall and a collapsed section of the yard wall. He was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.

An HSE investigation found the demolition work was not planned nor accounted for in the construction phase plan. No risk assessment or method statement was provided and Fischer was not trained to carry out safe demolition.

There was also a lack of supervision as the system of work implemented by Thorndyke Developments Limited and North West Facilities Limited prohibited non-English-speaking workers from carrying out demolitions.

Thorndyke Developments Limited, of Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £8,401.59 in costs at Wirral Magistrates’ Court.

David Peter Hartley, a director at North West Facilities Limited, also pleaded guilty and was given 26 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £5,836 in costs.

HSE Inspector Christine McGlynn said: “HSE will not hesitate to consider the roles of not only organisations when investigating serious incidents, but also those individuals such as directors and managers who are the controlling minds and best placed to direct work and ensure that it is carried out without risks to health and safety.”