Director and site manager sentenced after labourer crushed

A construction 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 building site.

Simon Briggs, 61, principal director of Stonehurst Estates Ltd, was sentenced to 23 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, for a health and safety offence following the death of 49-year-old Oleksander “Sasha” Rudyy at a development site in Hockley, Birmingham, on May 8, 2019.

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 a health and safety offence. The firm was also ordered to pay costs of £167,601.

Rudyy 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.

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.

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 Rudyy was undertaking.

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

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

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.

“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, 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.”

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