NFDC Statement following Teesside Tragedy

It is with great sadness that NFDC confirms the loss of life of two demolition workers with NFDC London & Southern Member company, John F Hunt Ltd.

Following a personal phone call from Managing Director, John Hall, to NFDC CEO Howard Button, we are informed that the tragic losses occurred on a site in Teesside on Thursday 19th September.

Naturally, investigations into the cause of this tragedy are already underway and a full report will be prepared. NFDC will stay informed throughout the process and support any action required as a result.

Loss of life in any industry is an ear-piercing alarm call. Fatal incidents call for questions, accountability, education, action and change. They cannot be (and are not) ignored or brushed under the carpet.

The professional investigating authorities, the associations that represent the industry and the demolition contractors themselves will learn from mistakes and identify what needs to change to ensure that these incidents do not arise again. (And this work goes beyond PR messages and advertising campaigns.)

It is the responsibility of leaders to ensure the right safety cultures, mindsets and attitudes exist on site, from the top down. It is a shared responsibility industry-wide, to the demolition workforce and their families, to go beyond compliance and create a safe place to work.

It is critical that the industry journey to raise professional standards, raise competence and build safety awareness continues. It is imperative that work continues to put essential practices in place and ensure they are religiously adhered to in order to keep the workforce safe from harm. It is paramount that those who operate in the demolition industry value and care for their workforce with both words and action. A shared commitment to strive for zero harm is required.

But at a time of raw and devastating loss, the NFDC will not sling mud. It will not jump to point fingers. It will not sensationalise with media headlines. It will not name call, bad mouth and throw blame and shame on the industry, or on demolition contractors operating in the industry. It will not dictate how to feel or react to such a tragedy, or accuse those who mourn, feel sad or send messages of sorrow and support to those affected of giving platitudes.

Our Member community will show respect for the workers who lost their lives. At this time and together, we will express our deepest sympathies for the families, loved ones and colleagues impacted by loss.