Company Director prosecuted after 6m fall by employee

legal updates

the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Please read below. It is notable in that a Director was personally prosecuted under Section 37 to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Graham Dyson, the director of Globalforce Contracts Limited, has been sentenced after an employee fell from a roof and sustained life-threatening injuries. Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how, on 7 April 2017, Mr Slawomir Miller, an employee of Globalforce Contracts Limited, was carrying out roof repairs in Harlow, Essex when he fell six metres through a fragile rooflight. Mr Miller landed on the concrete floor below and received multiple fractures to his vertebrae, ribs, elbow, wrist and sacral bones. He subsequently spent eight weeks in hospital.

An investigation by the HSE found that Mr Dyson had failed to properly plan the work or provide adequate fall protection to his employees. Mr Miller had never carried out roofwork before; but he was instructed to access the roof via a scissor lift, which he was not trained to use. Mr Dyson allowed Mr Miller to work without supervision, undertaking activities that necessitated walking across a fragile roof composed of asbestos cement sheeting.

Mr Graham Dyson, of Bulphan, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, by virtue of S37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 See Special Note below). He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay costs of £6,848.60 and a victim surcharge of £85.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Adam Hills said “This incident could so easily have been prevented. Work at height on asbestos cement roofing is dangerous and requires adequate planning, organisation, training and equipment.” The Inspector went on to say; “The Director was aware of the need to access and repair the roof. He could have provided work at height training and equipment to workers, or simply contracted the task out to a professional roofing company. Directors should be aware that they may be held personally accountable if they endanger the lives of their employees.”
SPECIAL NOTE: Section 37 of the Act is strongly worded, referring to offences which are committed with the consent of, or are due to the neglect of an officer of the company such as a director, manager or secretary. Clearly, a judgement that is reasonable at the time but is later proved to be incorrect is not the same as a hurried, ill-judged decision made in order to save time. Any person who accept the position with attributable health and safety responsibilities (i.e. a manager with delegated Health & Safety functions) will be expected by their employer and by the enforcing inspector to make correct decisions. This assumes, of course, that they have been given sufficient training, that the training has been validated and that they have been given sufficient time and facilities to undertake their job properly.

The most likely circumstance where the question of personal prosecution of a manager could arise is when an offence committed by his or her employer that is attributable to the neglect of the same manager.

Personal responsibility on the part of managers will be questioned if an accident occurs or enforcement action is taken in circumstances where their acts or omissions may have contributed towards any accident. If this occurs; managers will need to demonstrate that they made decisions that were reasonable for a person with their authority and expertise. Managers will also need to demonstrate that they did all that they reasonably could to ensure that their instructions etc. were actioned. In order to have the maximum impact on working conditions, thereby reducing accidents and the possibility of enforcement action, individual managers must ensure that their instructions etc. are well documented. Such actions will not only improve safety standards and achieve a higher standard of compliance with legislation, but will also reduce the possibility of a personal prosecution against the manager concerned.

Lagistics Members can get advice on this or other Health and safety issues by contacting the legal team or for help with COSHH assesments ask us about HR Manager, an easy to understand, simple to use piece of software that enables you to manage all aspects of HR, Employment Law, Health and Safety and GDPR compliance for your business. HR Manager is FREE and available to all Lawgistics members. Call 01480 455500 to start using HR Manager today.

Impression Communications LtdPutting the motive in automotive

Impression works with businesses across the automotive aftermarket supply chain such as parts suppliers, warehouse distributors, motor factors and independent garages. Covering all aspects of automotive aftermarket marketing, including social media, event management, customer newsletters and PR, Impression is able to quickly establish itself within a client’s business and work towards their objectives.

Ernie TaylorHealth & Safety ConsultantRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Toilet provision in the workplace

It’s hard to imagine this sensible judgment was not a relief for all the employees involved in the use of these toilets.

Can my employees tell me it is too hot to work?

Bosses should make sure they are doing all they can to keep their people cool, especially in areas where machinery might generate extra heat.

Managing Home Workers’ Health and Safety

The guidance published by the HSE about home working has been redesigned and expanded to provide more detail on straightforward actions to manage the homeworkers’ health and safety.

Site Supervisor Fined After Worker Suffered Serious Injuries

Remind your Managers and Site Supervisors about their delegated responsibilities for health and safet

HSE update – Control Of Substances Harmful to Health (COSHH)

COSHH requirements will be particularly relevant for any business running a repairs workshop.

Aiming for excellence – 10 Targets for your own risk assessments

We all recognise and understand that risk assessments are a statutory requirement.

Employer Sentenced After Oil Drum Explodes

Fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,167.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.