Falling guttering punctures worker’s lung

A demolition firm which failed to enforce exclusion zones during a project has landed a £40,000 fine after a worker was seriously injured by falling cast iron guttering.

Valentin Taljanov, 61, broke his right arm, seven ribs, a vertebra, punctured his lung and cut his head in the incident at disused buildings at Aberdeen Harbour.

Peterhead Sheriff Court heard that Taljanov was working with colleagues in the vicinity of a large piece of cast iron guttering left unsupported at roof height for two days during the demolition of old offices and warehousing.

Taljanov was moving roofing materials from a platform onto the ground when the guttering gave way and struck him.

After the incident, a witness expressed surprise that the guttering had stayed up as long as it did.

An investigation by the HSE and the Crown Office health and safety division found that his employer, Lawrie (Demolition), failed to put in place a suitable system to identify hazards that might arise as works progressed, and did not adequately plan and implement exclusion zones in areas where materials could fall.

On Friday (14 February) the company was fined £40,000 over the July 2009 incident after it admitted breaching Regulation 29 of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.

“This incident was wholly preventable by taking down the guttering in one go and it was probably only Mr Taljanov’s hard hat that prevented him from being killed,” said HSE inspector Liz Hunter.

“Lawrie (Demolition) failed to review the constantly changing risks that are created during demolition work.  Exclusion zones were not enforced to keep staff out of areas where materials could fall, despite there being two supervisors on site and regular site visits by management.”