A BUILDING firm has been fined £900,000 after a wall collapsed and killed a Portland father at a construction site.

Thomas Telfer, 31, was working as a bricklayer employed by Capstone Building Limited when he was hit by falling masonry after a retaining wall collapsed as it was being back-filled with concrete.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to appropriately manage the work that was being carried out at the site at Chatterton Heights on Somers Road, Lyme Regis, and failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees on site, including Mr Telfer.

Following a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court, Capstone Building Limited, which is in administration, was found guilty of breaching Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

It was fined £900,000 and ordered to pay costs of £60,336.99.

The firm’s sole director, Stephen Ayles, of Lomond Drive in Weymouth, was found not guilty of the same charges.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ian Whittles said: “This tragic incident could so easily have been avoided if the appropriate measures were in place to provide a safe working practice.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Mr Telfer suffered severe head injuries in the incident on June 2, 2015.

Emergency services, including the air ambulance, raced to the west Dorset site but, sadly, he was declared dead at the scene.

A narrative verdict was given following an inquest into Mr Telfer's death held in 2017.

The jury determined the death was due to the methods used to construct the wall which collapsed onto Mr Telfer, the lack of support for the wall and "not enough controlled access to the area of high risk" on the day the death occurred.

In evidence presented to the inquest, Martin Rickard from the HSE said the wall was “insufficient to withstand the pressure of the concrete and any effort to temporarily support it was ineffective.”

He said the wall collapsed due to a combination of factors including its design, lack of support and construction.

Mr Telfer, a married father-of-two who lived on Portland, was originally from Weymouth and went to Budmouth College.

Paying tribute after his death, his family described him as a 'much-loved husband and father and a beloved son and brother'.

They said at the time: "Thomas will always be a shining light in the many lives he touched and his light will continue to shine through his children."