Comment – The worst possible epitaph…

The true human cost of a demolition company that lost its focus.

I honestly thought I had written all there was to write about the late lamented Euro Dismantling Services, the once formidable but sadly defunct multi-national decommissioning and demolition company. Along with the wider trade press, I had charted the company’s highs. When the trade press’ “good news only lest we upset an advertiser” filter kicked in, we stood alone in charting the company’s downward spiral that seemed to follow so quickly after its acquisition by Silverdell. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Except it wasn’t.

Back in November 2011, six months before EDS would be acquired by Silverdell, demolition worker James Stacey drove a skid steer loader out of a fourth floor opening on an EDS contract at the Cadbury factory in Keynsham. During the months and years that followed, that accident would be largely lost in a mountainous sea of financial highs and mounting lows. But according to one senior former employee, through some form of cosmic justice, the repercussions of that accident would be far reaching.

According to our source, EDS maintained its ability to get onto preferred bidder lists until the very end; but the dark cloud of the Keynsham fatality (along with the spectre of an earlier incident in which a man had been left severely brain damaged resulting in EDS picking up a huge compensation bill) would ensure that the company continually failed to make it across the tender finish line.

None of that matters now, of course. Silverdell was cast to the winds, EDS slipped below the waves, and the company’s former workers and directors have now popped up elsewhere. So when Bristol Crown Court passed down its sentence and – in my opinion – derisory financial penalty last week, most of those that comprised EDS on that fateful day in 2011 had moved on to other things.

Sadly, a move on to other, bigger or better things is not an option for the family and friends of James Stacey, the man so tragically killed on an EDS site almost four years ago.

That he failed to return home from work that day is a tragedy; that his death is cast as a footnote in the chequered and ultimately doomed history of the company is nothing short of a scandal.