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Death of Worker Leads to Suspended Prison Sentence
Posted by David Cant on January 24, 2013

A landscape gardener from Staffordshire has been prosecuted after a death of one of his employees.  The gardener was being assisted by Leeson Lavender, a 39 year old man from Stoke on Trent. They were installing an oak post at a property when the incident occurred in May 2010.

The two men were standing on a trailer in order to move it into a hole that had been previously dug. As they moved the oak post the trailer moved and Mr Lavender fell out, along with the post. Mr Lavender hit his head on the floor and the post then fell on his head. Sadly he passed away from the severe injuries later in the hospital.

Safety Precautions were not enough

The case was heard at Stafford Crown Court on January 11 2013. The Health and Safety Executive discovered that the landscape gardener, Eden Maddocks had used the same system of work to install posts previous to the accident. However, in this instance the post was larger. Mr Maddocks plan was to try and shift the post by hand and if it proved too heavy they would wait for more men to arrive to help.

The trailer had been balanced with sandbags in a bid to stop the trailer from shifting. Mr Maddocks also put chocks in place to help secure the trailer as they lifted the oak post into place. A further safety measure used by the landscape gardener was to put guiding nails in the trailer so it wouldn’t slide around as they transported the post. It was clear that he had thought about the safety of the job but the planning wasn’t fully adequate.  With more in-depth safety measures the accident could have been avoided and Mr Lavender would not have lost his life while at work.

Suspended Prison Sentence and Community Service

Eden Maddocks pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was given a prison sentence of six months which was suspended for twelve months. He must also complete 180 hours of unpaid community service.

Health and safety training can help to ensure business owners and managers have enough knowledge to help prevent accidents at work. You can request training from health and safety consultants who will come and provide the courses at a suitable venue or at your own workplace. If you would like to learn more about the training and other health and safety services call us on 0800 1488 677.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Workplace Health and Safety

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