An Esher construction company must pay £160,000 after a worker narrowly escaped death when he was caught in a collapse of nine tonnes of steel and concrete.

Bola Akinola, 48, fell more than four metres when steel work supporting concrete floor planks failed, causing the material to collapse, at a site in Westerham, Kent, on May 9, 2009.

Mr Akinola, of Littlehampton, West Sussex, suffered life-changing injuries including multiple fractures to his pelvis, leg and arm.

He was in hospital for several weeks, unable to work for nearly a year, and has still not regained full mobility in his left arm.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Esher’s Landmark Groundworks ltd for serious safety breaches.

A nine-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court heard Mr Akinola was helping build a large new basement alongside an empty house that was being refurbished and extended.

Landmark Groundworks, of Wren House, Portsmouth Road, was contracted to oversee the project and provide supporting steelwork.

On the day of the incident, a separate sub-contractor laid about 50 concrete floor planks, each weighing up to two tonnes, for the ground floor.

Four planks were laid on a beam that had not been fixed at one end and, as a result, the beam tilted and gave way while workers were still on the planks.

Mr Akinola, a plank installer, fell four metres into the basement with the collapsing steel and three of the floor planks, while another worker managed to jump to safety as the floor gave way.

HSE’s investigation found that Landmark Groundworks failed to follow construction industry procedures and ignored design proposals by two structural engineers that would have helped ensure the project was carried out safely.

The company was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs on July 27.

After the hearing HSE inspector John Underwood said: “Buildings do not build themselves. The process needs to be actively managed to ensure that sub-contractors get the correct information and use it.

“It is completely unacceptable for a main contractor, Landmark Groundworks Ltd, to allow work to continue with a botched design, and with no checks carried out on either the design or the installation.

“This incident resulted in life-changing injuries to Mr Akinola and it was a matter of luck that the collapse of nearly nine tonnes of building material did not result in multiple fatalities.”