Advising with empathy and experience

Five killed in wall collapse.

Five workers were killed at a recycling site in Birmingham when a retaining wall holding scrap metal collapsed.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said emergency services attended Hawkeswood Metal, Aston Church Road, Nechells, but the men were pronounced dead. It is understood a sixth man managed to scramble free and was taken to Heartlands Hospital with a broken leg.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "On arrival, ambulance crews found that a wall had collapsed. Sadly, there was nothing that could be done to save the five men who had been working next to it."

The men who died are believed to be Spanish nationals, originally from Gambia.

A Hawkeswood Metal spokesman confirmed the deaths were caused by "the collapse of a partitioning wall within the company premises. It is not known why the wall collapsed.

“The wall had been in place for more than two years and had not been subject to any damage or was not subject to any incident that would have resulted in its collapse."

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also attended the scene.

Det Supt Mark Payne said: "This was a very traumatic incident and we will continue to work alongside the HSE and the other emergency services at the scene."

He described the collapsed structure as 12 to 15ft high and made of "concrete blocks" that were supporting the scrap metal.

The recycling plant was the scene of a major fire in February 2016 when 700 tonnes of scrap metal went up in flames.

In 2012, the company was fined £50,000 after a worker's arm became trapped in machinery.

Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Ltd pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court to a breach of health and safety law.

According to its company website, the firm processes more than 500,000 tonnes of scrap metal each year.

The company, which employs about 50 people, started trading more than 40 years ago and has a customer base that includes local authorities, major PLCs and smaller independent companies.