Construction company director imprisoned after safety failings

The director of a construction company has been imprisoned for eight months after failing to take appropriate action which resulted in a young worker receiving serious burns.

A Crown Court heard the young worker was instructed to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to help it to burn. The fireball that resulted when the thinners ignited caused the worker to be blown from the skip and he suffered substantial burns to his arms and legs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company director did not ensure the burning of the waste material was being carried out in a safe or appropriate manner. He failed to administer any first aid to the young injured worker and did not send him to hospital, the most appropriate response given the severity of the injuries suffered. He failed to inform HSE of the incident, a legal requirement, and the incident was only reported sometime later by a third party

After pleading guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and also to breaching Section 4 (1) of The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) he was sentenced to 32 weeks imprisonment, half on release under licence. He has also been disqualified from being a company director for seven years.

Speaking after the case the HSE inspector said the accused “failed his employees. His actions could have resulted in the death of this worker. The young man suffered unnecessary life threatening injuries due to poor working standards.

“We hope this sentence sends out a message that directors of businesses must take their health and safety responsibilities seriously.”

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