Building firm boss receives suspended prison sentence after worker crushed to death onsite

By on

Building company Stonehurst Estates Ltd has been fined £450,000 and its director has received a suspended prison sentence, following the death of a worker at a development site in Birmingham.

Oleksander “Sasha” Rudyy, aged 49 years, was crushed to death on 8 May 2019 after a building collapsed on top of him. Rudyy had been removing supporting metal bars with an angle grinder as part of a large-scale renovation project and had not been aware that the bars played a crucial role in supporting the structure, said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in a media statement.

Stonehurst Estates director Simon Briggs, of Danehill, West Sussex, pleaded guilty on 17 January to contravening section 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Briggs was sentenced on 15 February to 23 weeks of imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Stonehurst Estates pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter and a health and safety offence. The company was fined £450,000 and ordered to pay costs of £167,601. Site foreman Vasyl Bychkov, of Clapham, South London, pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others on the site. Bychkov was sentenced to 130 hours of unpaid work.

The prosecution followed an investigation by West Midlands Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which described the standard of care granted to Rudyy as “woeful”.

Stonehurst Estates worked on the structure “without a proper plan” in place, said the CPS, and none of the men working on the building – including Bychkov – had any expertise in demolition work. No risk assessment was carried out for the task Rudyy was undertaking.

“Although he was not onsite when this tragedy took place, as director of Stonehurst Estates, Simon Briggs owed a duty of care to Mr Rudyy for any work carried out,” said Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS special crime division. “He and his company failed to plan and carry out the demolition safely, which led to tragic consequences where a man needlessly lost his life.”