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Company boss fined after worker left paralysed

A demolition boss has been prosecuted after a worker was left paralysed following a fall from the roof of a Sunderland pub.

The 67-year-old injured man from Sunderland was working for David Brian Riseborough, trading as The North Eastern Demolition Company, when the incident happened on 29 June 2010.

Mr. Riseborough's firm was demolishing a pub in the city's Cox Green Road and had chosen to remove the slates and timbers of the pitched roof by hand. A mobile access platform was used to provide access for the workers and act as a barrier to prevent falls from the roof edge.

However, as the platform did not cover the whole length of the roof, Mr. Riseborough should have implemented additional controls to provide a safe system of work but many of these controls were lacking, or where provided, not effective.

While working on the roof the worker fell two-storeys, around 18-20 feet to the ground below. He suffered serious injuries including several fractures to three vertebrae, his right elbow and both bones of his lower right leg. He also suffered a dislocated right hip and his right lung collapsed.

As a result of the terrible injuries to his spine, all his limbs are now paralysed and he requires permanent care in a nursing home.

Keith Partington, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told Sunderland Magistrates' Court it was unnecessary for any work at height to be carried out at all, as the demolition could have been done using a 360 degree mechanical excavator that was on site.

HSE's investigation also found the way in which the work was carried out was unsafe as the instruction and supervision of the employees was not suitable and sufficient.

David Brian Riseborough, 67, of Willow Green, Ashbrooke, Sunderland was fined a total of £20,000 (£10,000 on each charge) and ordered to pay £7,434 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.


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