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Company Director and Project Manager given custodial sentences following tragic but avoidable employee death
On 1st October 2016, a 38-year-old man was working alone at a construction site in West Aberthaw, Vale of Glamorgan. He was operating a dumper truck around the site, which had no designated traffic routes, when the vehicle overturned causing him to be thrown to the ground. He was discovered dead two days after the incident with fatal crush injuries, consistent with being struck by the rollover protection structure.
A HSE investigation was launched and found that there was no adequate management of health and safety on site. Even more worryingly, it was discovered that he and other untrained operators regularly used construction vehicles, such as the dumper truck and on routes that were unsuitable for those vehicles.
As a result of the tragic accident, the Project Manager at TSD Group received a 21-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and a £5,000 fine. The Company Director of Pro’conn Limited, the main contractor at the site, received a 32-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and a £20,000 fine. These custodial sentences and hefty fines were passed down, even though Pro’conn Limited was dissolved in 2017. Dissolving the companies is no defence against either Health and Safety at Work or Corporate Manslaughter charges.
This extremely sad incident could have been prevented by sufficient management of the site and training of employees. It is management responsibility to put health and safety policies in place and to ensure that all employees are educated on potential workplace dangers. Unfortunately, this incident is not isolated, as attitudes towards health and safety within the workplace differ between companies, with many employers and directors ignorant to the potential implication’s accidents will have on them personally and to their company.
Hence why we advise companies to follow the D.tec mantra, Policy, Educate, Deter and Detect especially when managing drug and alcohol use within the workplace. Managers have a legal responsibility to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, their drivers are fit to drive. By implementing a robust drug and alcohol policy, followed with education surrounding the consequences of substance misuse at work, it creates an active deterrent for employees. This is followed by detection to check that enough education has taken place and to catch the not so innocent minority that assume they know better.
As an employer you are liable for the protection of your employees at work but by ensuring their safety it also keeps you as managers safe from prosecution and preserves the reputation of your company. Imagine the stress for the two individuals mentioned in the above case, who had to wait four whole years to be tried and sentenced, never mind the stress for their families and employees. Do not let this happen to you!
Do you have a robust and active drug and alcohol policy in place? Call D.tec today on 0800 371898 or email us email@example.com and we will help you seamlessly implement a fully certified drug and alcohol screening solution to help keep you and your workforce protected.