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Worker fatally injured by collapsing wall

Date of incident: May 2013
Notice of incident number: 2013166710140
Employer: Concrete cutting firm

Incident summary
A homeowner was having an old house demolished to make way for a new one. A demolition company was hired for the demolition, but the excavator operator was concerned about trying to knock down concrete foundation walls because the houses on either side of the demolition site were close to the property lines and because the excavator had a limited capacity. Consequently, a concrete-cutting firm was hired to make cuts in the walls so that the excavator could safely knock them down. Two concrete cutters made five cuts in different locations. As they were preparing to leave for the day, the wall that was cut last suddenly fell forward, crushing one of the concrete cutters. He died at the worksite.

Invesitgation conclusions

  • Concrete wall with cuts fell onto worker: A final saw cut was made in a concrete wall that had a pre-existing crack at its opposite end. The wall, between the crack and the final cut, suddenly fell onto one of the concrete cutters.

Underlying factors

  • Lack of safe work procedures: None of the firms involved at the worksite had adequate health and safety knowledge, and had not developed or followed adequate safe work procedures. In particular, no bracing was used to secure the walls while workers were working near them.
  • Lack of safety coordination and oversight at the workplace: There was no designated prime contractor for the worksite, and the homeowner was unaware of the health and safety requirements. There was a lack of health and safety coordination and oversight at this workplace.

Request the full report

Publication Date: May 2013 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2013166710140