On 4 June 2014, at the end of a three day trial, Worcester Crown Court sentenced 64-year old Robert Marsh from Shropshire to 12 months in prison after finding him guilty of illegally supplying roofing sheets containing asbestos, to a farming partnership.
The farming partnership was having a barn built in Frankley, Worcestershire and had hired Mr Tony Podmore, a 56-year old steel erector, to undertake the building work. The roofing sheets for the barn had been supplied by RM Developments (2005) Limited, the sole director of which was Mr Marsh.
As Mr Podmore was putting the roof onto the barn, he fell through one of the roofing sheets onto the concrete floor six meters below. He later died of his injuries in hospital.
Following the incident, an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that Mr Marsh had supplied pre-used roofing sheets that contained asbestos and were of substandard quality. He had charged the farming partnership £4,000 for the supply of the roofing materials despite the fact he had paid nothing for them and his only outlay was £250 for transport costs.
It also came to light that after the incident, Mr Marsh had tried to persuade witnesses to hide the roofing sheets in order to avoid the blame being put on himself and then later tried to persuade Mr Podmore’s family not to report the incident to the HSE.
Mr Marsh pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and a contravention of The Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) Regulations 2008. As well as his prison sentence, he was disqualified from being a director for 6 years and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.
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