Company director jailed following second fatality
Mr Thelwall, company director of Thorn Warehousing Ltd, has been jailed following the second workplace fatality to happen under his directorship. The first fatality happened in 2010 when an employee was crushed in a metal gate, and Mr Thelwall was acquitted of a corporate manslaughter charge in 2012.
In January 2014, an employee of Thorn Warehousing Ltd died in an accident where an 18 metre spider lift overturned on them. The employee was loading the spider lift onto a lorry where the ramps were not secured and were at an angle above the manufacturer’s specification.
It was discovered that the employee had not been properly trained on the use of the ramps, the lorry and the Mobile Elevated Working Platform (MEWP). The company had no risk assessment in place and a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) had not been created for the equipment.
The case was heard at Manchester Crown Court where Judge Leeming charged Mr Thelwall under Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, sentencing him to 12 months in prison. In addition, Mr Thelwell was ordered to pay £4,000 costs and is disqualified from being a company director for seven years. The company itself was fined £166,000 and ordered to pay £10,400 costs under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
HSE Inspector Helen Jones said that Mr Thelwall had “failed in his duty as a director” and went on to say “this case should act as a stark warning to all company directors of their personal responsibility to protect their workers’ health and safety and the tragic consequences when they fail.”
It is important to ensure that risk assessments take place and SOP’s created to help to avoid accidents such as this. Are you confident you are managing health & safety in your organisation to the latest UK legislative requirements?
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