Firm apologises after man died at building site

The firm was fined at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court
The firm was fined at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court

A construction company, which was fined after a passing elderly man fell into a ditch and drowned, has issued an apology to the family.

John Philbin (83), who was said to have had health issues, had been reported missing from his home on January 7, 2015.

A search was launched but his body was found the following morning in a hole which had become filled with water.

Sandford Park Ltd, which was building homes at Kirkcaldy’s Chapel Level, has been fined £110,000 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

An inspection by the Health and Safety Executive found that the firm had failed to ensure that the site had been secure, and issued an improvement notice.

It was found that the company had failed to prevent unauthorised access at the development on Newtonmore Drive.

The inspector by a Health and Safety Executive officer noted that the firm “failed to ensure secure site boundaries which has led to members of the public gaining access”, and also that the building site had “significant gaps being observed next to a public play park”.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Gillian Anderson said: “This tragic incident could have been prevented, had the company installed a continuous fence around the site.”

A spokesperson for Sandford Park said: “Our sincere thoughts are with Mr Philbin’s family at what is an extremely upsetting time.

“Site safety remains our over-riding priority and we continue to take every possible step to ensure that there can be no repeat of this tragic accident.

“We accept that there was a failure here for which we apologise unreservedly.”

A Glasgow based construction company has today been fined after the death of an 83-year old man in Kirkcaldy.