A demolition company director is facing up to two years in jail after failing to ensure the safety of one of his workmen who was crushed to death in Buckie almost seven years ago.
Divorced father-of-two Stuart Thompson who lived near his boss, Joseph Young, in Lancashire, died when rubble stacked up against an interior wall in a disused abattoir collapsed on top of him.
Yesterday at Inverness Sheriff Court, fiscal depute Stella Swann apologised to Mr Thompson’s family for the length of time the case took to come to court.
She told Sheriff Sara Matheson that there were periods of inactivity between receipt of the Health and Safety report and Crown counsel instructions.
The prosecutor said that procedures were now in place to speed up the process to prevent a future recurrence.
Young, 36, of SI Dismantling Ltd, admitted a breach of Health and Safety legislation whereby he failed to give his employees proper instructions to demolish the building in Great Western Road, Buckie, between October 14, 2013, and January 27, 2014.
The charge continued that he failed to monitor the work, provide site inductions, carry out regular inspections and failed to prevent waste materials being loaded against an interior wall.
Young, from Bacup, had been on site until December 20 but did not return.
Mr Thompson, 43, and a colleague went back on January 24, 2014, to cut up metal beams which had been taken down before the Christmas break. Three days later he was dead.
Young also failed to implement a safe method of dismantling steel structures and walls whereby the interior wall collapsed and Mr Thompson was fatally injured as he was cutting steel beams.
Ms Swann told the court the maximum penalty was up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
Because of the English lockdown, sentence was deferred until January 5,2021 for a background report, a restriction of liberty order assessment and Young’s personal appearance.
Due to the uncertainty over Covid restrictions at that time, the court heard the date may be further put back.
The court heard that other employees at the site said they felt “it was a rush job and corners were cut”.
They said they had not received any formal training on how to carry out the demolition work and dismantling and had simply been told to “crack on”.
Ms Swann said the men had been using diggers to bash at walls without fully knocking them down and also used an unsafe technique known as “bombing”, where Steel beams are picked up by the diggers and dropped on to concrete casings to break them up.