Construction firm fined £800,000 after death of ten-year-old

Glasgow Sheriff Court
(Image: TreasureGalore, Shutterstock)

RJ McLeod has been fined £800,000 for safety breaches after a 10-year-old boy died after falling down a manhole on a building site in Glasgow.

Shea Ryan entered the construction whilst playing with friends on the evening of 16th July 2020. He accessed a manhole within which he fell. Emergency services and local residents raced to the scene but tragically Shea died from his injuries.

The construction site was part of a surface water management project being carried out adjacent to Glenkirk Drive in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

An investigation by Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that insufficient measures had been taken to prevent children gaining access to the construction site.

The HSE investigation also found that R.J. McLeod (Contractors) Limited, the company in charge of the site, had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk of unauthorised persons gaining access to the site, which resulted in a failure to adequately inspect and maintain suitable perimeter fencing, and install other suitable security measures.

R.J. McLeod (Contractors) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60,000 at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 14 April 2023.

HSE principal inspector Graeme McMinn said, “Shea should never have been able to get onto and play on that site. The security measures should have taken account of the adjacent children’s play park and the likelihood of children trying to gain access.

“The company should have had robust measures in place to maintain the fence line that was regularly being damaged and consider what additional security measures were needed to deter and prevent unauthorised access.

“The construction industry should be aware that some children can be drawn to construction sites as exciting places to play. It must do everything it can to keep them out of construction sites and away from danger to prevent a tragedy such as this happening again.”