Demolition firm fined £20,000 after worker crushed

Demolition firm prosecuted

A demolition firm was fined £20,000 and a director ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work after a 20-year-old labourer narrowly escaped death in an onsite incident.

Ace Demolition Services Ltd was working for Southend Borough Council, demolishing Futures Community College, in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend-on-Sea.

Shannon Brasier was working with a colleague to load a fuel hose into a 21-tonne excavator. The excavator moved round and crushed her between the excavator and a mobile fuel tank.

Brasier, from Dagenham, suffered life-changing injuries, including to her neck, skull and face. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said she was “fortunate to survive”.


An HSE investigation found that Ace Demolition Services Ltd failed to implement suitable controls to segregate pedestrians and construction plant. It also allowed two pairs of keys to be used during the refuelling process. Meanwhile, operatives acted as banksmen for the excavator without having received adequate training.

A director, John Gilligan, was responsible for supervising the refuelling and drove the excavator before the refuelling was complete.

The incident happened on 28 July 2020.

Ace Demolition Services Ltd and John Gilligan, of Fox Burrows Lane, Writtle, Chelmsford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 37(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Ace Demolition Services Ltd received a fine of £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,731 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 24 November 2022. John Gilligan received a 12-month community order with a requirement to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work.

HSE inspector David Tonge said: “While there were a number of shortfalls, this incident ultimately occurred due a failure to keep the workers away from the excavator.

“Duty holders must ensure that individuals are segregated from vehicles and construction machinery.”

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