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Head injury for demolition man

Brain scans pinned up on a wall
14th May 2014
A demolition worker from the north east could undertake legal proceedings for a personal injury claim after receiving a severe injury to his head.

Mr Gareth Dodds, from South Shields was working on a demolition site in Rossington, near Doncaster.

Disaster struck when he was hit on the head by a 20-metre steel girder that was being moved by hydraulic excavator, in November 2008.

A Halifax demolition firm was today fined by Doncaster Crown Court for its part in an incident that left the worker with devastating injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution against Mr Dodds' employer, James Hudson Demolition Ltd, after investigating the incident. 

Doncaster Crown Court was told that on the day of the incident, Mr Dodds, then 28, was one of four workers on site at the former All Saints School in Rossington, South Yorkshire. 

Demolition of a building had been underway for some time which involved the men working close to the excavators, because they were moving materials around. 

Workers were sorting materials on the site and there were no safeguards in place to keep them a safe distance from the machines and their loads. 

As a result, Mr Dodds was hit by the girder as it was being moved which resulted in the serious head injury. 

He suffered extensive head injuries and fractured vertebrae, which have gravely affected him. 

More than two years after the incident he is still suffering the effects of his life-changing injuries.

James Hudson Demolition Ltd of Browside Farm, Medley Lane, Northowram, Halifax, West Yorkshire, had pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at an earlier hearing. The company was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Rob Cooper said:

"This appalling incident could have very easily been avoided had proper thought and planning been put in place. Because of this lack of care, Mr Dodds was unwittingly in an area he should not have been in. Sadly he suffered terrible injuries as a result, but he could have lost his life. 

"We hope today’s prosecution serves as a reminder to all employers that they have a duty to protect their workers at all times."

Mr Dodds is lucky he didn’t join the 52 workers who are recorded as having died on building sites during the 2008/09 term.

Reported by Fiona Campbell