Construction Site Manager Jailed for Manslaughter due to Negligence

A construction site manager has been jailed for 30 months (two and a half years) following the death of a worker. The court ruled that the death as manslaughter by gross negligence.

Site Manager Jailed for 30 months following a week-long manslaughter trial at Birmingham Crown Court. The judge, Mr. Justice John Saunders, said:

“It seems the defendant had no idea of the responsibilities he had for maintaining the safety of the site. The defendant paid no regard to health and safety requirements whatsoever.”

What finding led to this statement?

An experienced window fitter (U-R), agreed to fit doors and windows on the site over a weekend in January last year. Shortly after arriving on the site he fell three metres through an open skylight on a first floor flat roof. As a result of this fall, he suffered serious head injuries and, despite surgery, died four days later. Police investigating the death found a raft of failings at the site. Ladders were not secured properly, and one was found balancing in a pile of sand. Openings in the ceilings on the first and second floors were not guarded, and workers had no protective clothing. There were no signs warning of hazards and scaffolding was not properly secured on the site.

Prohibition Notice Breached

HSE Inspectors visited the site and issued a prohibition notice on the Site Manager, ordering a halt to any work at height. But on two subsequent visits, they found evidence that work had continued. The second breach of the Prohibition Notice was after U-R has died. When police attended the site in early February, they again found the order had been breached. The Site Manager was arrested and charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.

Deanna Heer, prosecuting, said that even after the fatal fall, [The site Manager] … “refused to accept any responsibility for the safety of workers on his site.”

Mr Justice Saunders also said “It is an aggravating feature that despite a prohibition notice the defendant continued to allow people to work on both the first and second floor. The second offence was after U-R died.”

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