Worker buried by ceiling collapse

Court hears of “woeful” safety standard.

A worker was crushed to death beneath a falling ceiling at a building site where health and safety measures were described as ‘woeful’. Oleksander Rudyy was killed at the scene in Vittoria Street, Hockley on May 8 in 2019.

The 49-year-old, known as ‘Sasha’, was not a ‘builder by trade’ but was using a grinder tool to remove nine rods within a building called the Coal Store, Birmingham Crown Court heard. But he was not aware they were crucial to the support of the structure.

Rudyy had been working with another colleague at the time. Prosecutor Michael Burrows KC said: “As he cut the last rod the wall and brick floor above them collapsed upon them. Both were buried.

Rudyy was covered by a solid wall of bricks. Other workers tried to free him. Police, ambulance and other emergency services attended.

“After 20 minutes they managed to remove Rudyy from the rubble. He had a metal bar impaled in his shoulder. There were no signs of life. Efforts were made to resuscitate him but at 6.18pm he was pronounced dead.”

Stonehurst Estates and Vittoria Apartments, both based at Danehill, Sussex, have pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter and a further health and safety offence. Stonehurst’s sole director Simon Briggs, aged 61, from the same address, and supervisor Vasyl Bychkov, aged 45, from Clapham in London, have also admitted manslaughter, while Bychkov has confessed to an additional health and safety offence.

Mr Burrows told the court the site at Vittoria Street was to be redeveloped and the Coal Store building was to be removed. He said: “Stonehurst Estates decided to save costs by doing the demolition itself.”

The sentencing hearing continues.

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