A construction company, Clancy Docwra Limited acting as principal contractor, and one of their employees, Daniel Walsh, have been prosecuted and sentenced following a fatality in 2014.
The incident occurred during a night shift when Kevin Campbell was fatally struck by an Excavator Mounted Vibrator and crushed against a concrete wall. The HSE investigation concluded that the company had failed to implement appropriate control measures, whilst Daniel Walsh failed to take reasonable care for other people on site.
Clancy Docwra Limited pleaded not guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £1,000,000, with prosecution costs of £108,502.30. Sentences are based on turnover, but the more hidden costs of a prosecution such as reputation damage and needing to disclose convictions during the tendering process can also have a serious and long - lasting impact on a business.
Daniel Walsh, who was the site supervisor and the operator of the excavator at the time, also pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was given a 6 month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
It is relatively unusual for individual employees to be prosecuted in this way. Generally, in health and safety prosecutions it is far more common for individual directors to be pursued where the company offence was committed with their consent, connivance or neglect.
However, this case is a stark reminder of the health and safety duties that are owed by everyone onsite, including employees - and the potentially serious consequences of failing to ensure compliance and consider the safety of those on site.
“All those with legal responsibilities must be clear that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action including where appropriate prosecution against those that fall below the required standards”.