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24th February 2017

Construction company director imprisoned and disqualified after safety failings

The director of a construction company has been prosecuted for failing to take appropriate action, which resulted in a young worker receiving serious burns.

The court heard how company director, David Stead, instructed a young worker to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to help it to burn.

The sentencing

Mr Stead has been imprisoned for eight months and banned from being a director for seven years.

The fireball, that resulted when the thinners ignited, caused the worker to be blown from the skip. As a result the young worker suffered substantial burns to his arms and legs.

HSE investigation

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. The company director also failed to administer any first aid to the young injured worker and did not even send him to hospital.

He also failed to inform HSE of the incident – a legal requirement under RIDDOR – and the HSE only discovered the incident after it was reported some time later by a third party.

David Stead pleaded 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, and has also been disqualified from being a company director for seven years.

Speaking after the prosecution, The HSE inspector involved in the case said “We hope this sentence sends out a message that directors of businesses must take their health and safety responsibilities seriously.”

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