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Suspended prison sentence for Company director following death of an employee after undercutting competitors

BY Lee Craig
Health & Safety

The quote provided by the construction firm failed to take into account the provision of the safety equipment required for roof work, thereby enabling them to offer a more competitive quote, has been handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

This failure to take industry standard safety measures to protect employees whilst working at height put their employees at significant risk whilst carrying out work to replace 70 skylights. A quote of £7865 plus VAT was provided to replace the skylights.

On 10 April 2015, four  employees were instructed to walk carefully along the roof, drilling out the skylights and handing them to a worker inside the building on a scissor lift.

Unfortunately, one of the employees outpaced the working platform  and stepped on a skylight which gave way, leading to him falling to his death.

The court was told that safety netting should have been fitted to the underside of the roof, an easy deck system of boards and safety rails and harnesses for the workers. All of which are regarded as industry standard for this type of work

The company director and the firm admitted two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act. As well as the suspended sentence, the Judge ordered the director to observe a 20-week curfew. The company was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £15,970 in costs. A further charge of gross negligence manslaughter was ordered to lie on file.

Following the accident, the company stopped working on the site and a second contractor took over the work, at a cost of £17,000.


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