Recent Prosecutions


Director jailed after second employee killed on his watch


5 September 2016


A company director has been jailed for 12 months following the death of a worker who died in January 2014, after avoiding a manslaughter conviction over the death of another employee in 2010.

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Kenneth Thelwall of Enfield, director of Cheshire-based Thorn Warehousing, was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Manchester Crown Court, and was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.


Thelwall’s employee, Paul Williamson, 51, died when a remote controlled mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) he was loading on to a truck fell from the ramps and crushed him.


The court heard how Williamson had not been adequately trained on the use of the ramps, the truck and the MEWP. The gradient of the ramps was above the manufacturer’s specification and they were not secured to the truck.




Suspended sentences for scaffolders who covered up cause of 7m fall


22 September 2016


Two scaffolders from St Austell, Cornwall have received suspended prison sentences after a worker died when he fell 7m from a roof.


The HSE prosecuted Colin Marshall and his son James Marshall, who ran Colin Marshall Scaffolding, after Roger Stoddern (below, right) fell as he dismantled scaffolding around a holiday home in St Mawes. He was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth but died three weeks later.


Colin Marshall was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two-years. James Marshall, who was also this father’s business partner, was handed an eight month sentence, also suspended for two years.




A Manchester building contractor has been jailed for eight months after the casual labourer he had subcontracted to carry out repairs on a roof fell nearly seven metres to his death.


Director Saleem Hussain had been hired by the owner of a warehouse in Witney Mill, Manchester, to repair its roof and guttering, with the owner believing that Hussain was a competent contractor.


Hussain then subcontracted the work to two labourers, but one of them, a 45 year old from Manchester, fell through the fragile roof on 23 November 2013 and was fatally injured.


Manchester Crown Court heard that Hussain had failed to assess the risks or put a safe working method in place, and no suitable training or equipment to work on the roof had been provided.


"Hussain’s failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life."


The HSE investigation also found that both workers were not qualified to carry out work at height, and had accessed the roof via a ladder in order to repair and seal leaking guttering.


Saleem Hussain of Birchfields Road, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was sentenced to eight months immediate imprisonment.


Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Mike Sebastian said: “The dangers of falls through fragile roofs and working at height are well known. Simple steps such as removing the need to access the roof directly by using mobile working platforms, or boarding out the roof, or using safety harnesses, can and should be used to prevent accident and injury. “Hussain’s failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life.”




A self-employed businessman has been given a suspended sentence after his employee was killed when he fell from the flat roof of a building


Manchester Crown Court heard Jason Fogarty, a casual employee of Roy Hardaker, who traded as 9 to 5 Roofing, was working on a flat roof replacement project.


The two men were working alongside each other on 22 December 2013, installing cladding and flashing around the top of the building to seal the edges of the roof. Fogarty was holding the cladding sheets in position from a ladder that was being held in position by another colleague, while Hardaker was in the roof itself, securing the sheets and the flashing.Fogarty then climbed up onto the roof from the ladder and subsequently fell from the edge and was pronounced dead at the scene. The reason why he had climbed onto the roof was not clear.


"By failing to have suitable edge protection installed around the building, Mr Hardaker put himself and his employees at risk, ultimately costing Mr Fogarty his life."


A joint investigation carried out by Greater Manchester Police and the HSE found that the work was not properly planned. As a result, there were no measures in place, such as scaffold edge protection, to prevent falls from the edges of the roof.


HSE inspector Laura Moran said: “The dangers associated with working at height are well known. “Mr Hardaker is an experienced roofer, who completely failed in his duties to properly plan the roof work and to ensure it was carried out safely. By failing to have suitable edge protection installed around the building, Mr Hardaker put himself and his employees at risk, ultimately costing Mr Fogarty his life.”


Roy Hardaker, trading as 9 to 5 Roofing, of Oldham, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years and 200 hours of unpaid work.




Seven notices served on London contractor with workers sleeping on site


27 March 2017


A London construction company has been fined £52,000 over a catalogue of failings during the construction of a pub and a block of flats, after members of the public tipped off the HSE to problems at the site.


Inspectors visited the site run by Malik Contractors and Engineers in January, August and November 2016, finding dangerous electrical systems, unsafe work at height taking pace across the site and no fire detection system.


Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard that there was also no firefighting equipment at the site on St John’s Way in Corringham, Essex, despite workers sleeping there.


The HSE served four prohibition notices and three improvement notices on the firm.




Laing O’Rourke driver who crushed brother had no CPCS 'ticket'

3 April 2017


Contractor Laing O’Rourke Construction, which was fined £800,000 last month after a worker fatally crushed his brother between a scissor lift and a dump truck, failed to ensure that its workers were qualified to operate heavy plant.


In an interview with Health and Safety at Work, HSE inspector Jack Wilby said that Philip and Paul Griffiths, who were told to tow the broken down scissor lift, did not have valid Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) cards required to operate the dump truck. He added that firm failed to plan how to move the scissor lift, which had stopped working while driving along a Heathrow Airport service road. According to Wilby, planning descended into “chaos”, with no one from the management team taking control of the situation, he said.




A Chichester builders’ merchant has been fined £120,000 after a delivery driver had three fingers amputated when a forklift truck crushed his hand against a metal post.


Brighton Magistrates' Court heard that employees of David Cover and Son, known as Covers, would often drive forklift trucks towards suppliers’ delivery drivers to hand them paperwork. On 18 March 2016, lorry driver Robert Gassor, 37, from Oxfordshire, delivered timber to the site on Quarry Lane. The timber, which was sitting on top of a series of steel metal posts acting as bearers, was unloaded using a forklift truck operated by a Covers employee.

With the timber unloaded, Gassor got out of his cab and started to stow the bearers under the lorry. As he did so, the forklift truck driver returned and passed over paperwork.


Gassor then returned to stowing the bearers, but as the truck pulled away, its rear swung out and crushed his hand against a bearer. He was rushed to Chichester’s St Richard's Hospital for emergency treatment. He subsequently had parts of three fingers amputated. He has since lost his job and is no longer able to work as a lorry driver, according to the council.


Environmental health officers from Chichester District Council found that other visiting drivers had reported similar incidents of forklift operators driving up to hand them paperwork. "I hope this case sends a strong message that the council will not tolerate anybody being put at risk as a result of safety failings and will prosecute where appropriate."


Covers, which had a turnover of £70m in 2015, pleaded guilty to breaching of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. On 30 March, the company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £6000.


Summing up, the judge said: “The accident was tragic for Mr Gassor. The pain must have been unbearable, and he is still suffering enduring pain. It is accepted that prior to the accident, the company had a good health and safety record. It would appear that the company have done everything that they can after the accident to improve safety. The company should be lauded for its response.”


Louise Rudziak, head of housing and environment services at Chichester District Council, said: "Covers is a large and well respected local company and, as the judge said, had a good health and safety record before this incident. “However, this was a preventable accident and could have been avoided if forklift truck movements near pedestrians had been restricted. Unfortunately, this incident has led to life changing injuries for Mr Gassor: he has lost his job and is no longer able to work as a lorry driver. “Covers have cooperated fully with the district council's investigation and we acknowledge that lessons have been learned. The company has fully reviewed its safety procedures regarding forklift truck movements and a wide range of improvements have been introduced. I would urge all companies in the district to review their procedures regarding the operation of forklift trucks. "I hope this case sends a strong message that the council will not tolerate anybody being put at risk as a result of safety failings and will prosecute where appropriate.”