Firm fined £800,000 after 10-year-old boy fell down the shaft to his death | UK News
A schoolboy fell to his death through a manhole cover after a contractor failed to carry out safety checks.
Shea Ryan fell more than twenty feet into the hole near a play park near his home in Glasgow, Scotland on July 16, 2020.
He and a few friends had been playing as they wound their way through an unsafe fence to get into a construction site on Glenkirk Drive, Drumchapel.
When Shea found an open manhole cover, he told his friends he wanted to go in, Glasgow Sheriff Court heard.
Prosecutor Saud Ul-Hassan said: “Shea started to climb down the ladder where he slipped and fell.
‘From the position of the ladder he fell into the water below.’
Shea’s friends fell 20 feet (6.3 meters) and rushed to tell the boy’s stepfather, Graham Patterson, who stepped in to save him.
Police found Shea lying on his back in the hole with Graham and a neighbor next to him.
The boy drowned and suffered serious head injuries. He died shortly afterwards at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
RJ McLeod (Contractors) Limited, one of Scotland’s largest contractors, has today been fined £800,000 over safety breaches that led to Shea’s death.
The company, which previously pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws, was also ordered to pay a £60,000 surcharge.
Investigators from Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a government workplace welfare agency, found the contractor had taken no steps to prevent children from accessing the site.
The boy’s death is now being investigated as a result of a fatal accident, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPSF), Scotland’s public protection service, said.
Debbie Carroll, COPFS Director of Health and Safety Investigations, said: “The child’s untimely death is particularly tragic and our thoughts are with Shea’s family as they continue to cope with the pain they have endured following his death.
“His death could have been prevented had RJ McLeod (Contractors) Limited taken appropriate and sufficient measures to manage the risk of children having access to the site.”
HSE Chief Inspector Graeme McMinn added: “Shea should never have been able to get to this site and play there.
“Security measures should have taken into account the adjacent children’s playground and the likelihood of children attempting to gain entry.”
For Shea’s mother, Joanne Ferguson, the firm plea of guilt came as a kind of relief. But it will only go so far.
“My son is not here and it destroys me every day,” she said.
“This completely avoidable accident ruined my life and that of my children. Sometimes I don’t even feel human because of the grief.
“I just hope that by doing this they will consider site security everywhere – not just for RJ McLeod, but for companies everywhere because the security of these sites is so important.”
RJ McLeod said he offers his condolences to Shea’s family.
A spokesman added: “We have conducted a comprehensive review of the event and taken steps to protect against the risk of a recurrence.
“We have fully cooperated with the investigating authorities and are committed.
“Security is always our top priority, and on-site security updates are continuously rolled out across the organization.”
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