The importance of thorough and comprehensive health and safety policies cannot be underestimated. A recent prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlights this vital issue.
Peter Halligan from Dovecot was sub-contracted to work on site at Sutton Hall Farm in Macclesfield as an employee of Galt Civil Engineering Ltd, operated by Director Peter Stuart.
The incident occurred on the 14 August 2008 when Mr Halligan fell to his death into an empty water storage tank 46ft deep. The manhole covering the opening of the storage tank had been removed. His colleague had left him working by the opening to collect tools and when he returned could no longer see Mr Halligan. His body was found later at the bottom of the water storage tank. Paramedics later pronounced Mr Halligan dead at the scene.
The HSE’s subsequent investigation identified defects in the firm’s health and safety procedures including failing to provide employees with a risk assessment for the job/site and failing to provide advice about working above an exposed opening. These failings were in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Liverpool Crown Court found Galt Civil Engineering and its Director Peter Stuart guilty of failing to ensure the proper safety of its workers after it was admitted health and safety breaches had occurred. The company received a nominal fine of £50 and was ordered to pay prosecution costs amounting to £24,974. Mr Stuart was ordered to pay a fine of £30,000 or face 14 months imprisonment should he fail to pay the fine.
The decision only serves to highlight the failings of many firms who try to operate in breach of the law. A firm guilty of such breaches will be both negligent and in breach of statutory duty and liable for damages in a Civil Court.
If you or your family have been affected by an accident at work please feel free to contact us on 0151 236 8840 for a no obligation consultation. Our highly trained team will be able to assist you obtain the best possible results against your employers in a fast and efficient manner.