Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Two men jailed for health and safety failings
Posted by David Cant on December 12, 2014
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Two men jailed for health and safety failings

cartoon man and Prison barsJust days after we wrote about the problems the HSE faces in bringing corporate manslaughter cases to court, two men have been successfully convicted and jailed for a total of four years for failing to protect employees. Company director Conrad Sidebottom was given a three year three month sentence for his part in the death of employee Anghel Milosavlevici.

37 year old Mr Milosavlevici was killed as he excavated a basement under a property in Walthamstow, East London. Several concrete piles that had been installed to support the building during digging work collapsed, crushing the worker to death.

The court heard that despite being aware of the dangers inherent with excavation work, Sidebottom chose to ignore the risks and failed to provide adequate protection for workers onsite.

Shared responsibilities results in multiple convictions

Like many small construction firms, Siday Construction used an outsourced health and safety consultant to provide CDM Coordination services. However the consultant they chose, Richard Gosling, was also found guilt of causing the death of Mr Milosavlevici.

The court heard that self-employed consultant Gosling had drawn up a method statement intended to help Sidebottom’s employees work safely as they excavated below the property in question. However After the incident, HSE inspectors reviewed the document and found it to be inadequate. Worse still, Sidebottom’s employees were not following the guidelines which they had been issued, even though the risk assessment identified a real and present danger of a collapse.

The court decided that although Sidebottom had a duty to ensure his staff followed the method statement, Gosling had failed in his duty as responsible person by not following up activities on site. As the named CDM, Gosling should have exercised his authority and called an immediate halt to works until failings could be addressed.

Gosling’s involvement in the death of Mr Milosavlevici saw him receive a nine month prison sentence.

DCI Duffield, the police officer who headed up the criminal side of the investigation said after the trial, “There was overwhelming evidence that Sidebottom and Golding’s failure to carry out their respective roles directly resulted in the death of Anghel Milosavlevici. In this case the danger of collapse was not only foreseeable, it had been specifically identified by Golding in his risk assessments.

Lessons for other construction firms

Directors of construction firms can learn two things from the tragic death of Mr Milosavlevici. First, the courts take a very dim view of directors who disregard the safety of their employees and place them in life-threatening situations without adequate protection in place.

Secondly, the choice of CDM Coordinator is crucial to protecting your employees. Your business needs to partner with a reputable provider of CDM Coordination services who has the knowledge and experience to draw up detailed schemes of work that identify and mitigate risks properly to keep workers safe onsite. You also need to ensure that your coordinator has the strength of character to call a halt to works if they identify an issue.

So over to you – how does your company approach CDM coordination?

About 

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: Construction Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services, Health and Safety Support

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