News

Imprisonment for Company Director under RIDDOR Offence

By Nicola Mullineux
28 Feb 2017
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The Director of a construction company has been jailed for eight months after failing to ensure the safety of a young worker who sustained serious injuries as a result of the negligence. David Gordon Stead of Beddau has been sentenced to imprisonment after pleading guilty at Cardiff Crown Court to breaching s.4(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).

The court heard how the young worker was told to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to help it ‘go up’. This resulted in a fireball, which blew the worker from the skip, and caused substantial burns to his arms and legs.

The succeeding investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Director of DS Quality Construction Services Ltd had not ensured the burning of the waste material was carried out in a safe or appropriate manner.

Furthermore, Stead had failed to administer any first aid to the injured worker, had not sent him for any medical attention, and had not fulfilled the legal obligation of reporting the incident to HSE. The event was only reported sometime after by a third party.

Stead has been sentenced to 16 weeks in prison with a further 16 weeks on release under licence. He has also been disqualified from being a Company Director for seven years.

Stephen Thomas, Croner Health and Safety Expert, comments:

“This unfortunate case highlights the crucial role that Directors play in Health and Safety management. “

In the year since the Sentencing Guidelines for England and Wales came into force, there have been demonstrable increases in the number and level of fines imposed on organisations who break the law.

“Furthermore, the move to risk-based sentencing has seriously raised the stakes for both organisations and the senior managers who have ultimate responsibility in law.”

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Adele Davies says:

“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.”

About the Author

Nicola Mullineux

Nicola Mullineux, as Group Content Manager, leads a team of employment law content writers who produce guidance and commentary on employment law, case law and key HR developments. She has written articles for national publications for over 10 years and regularly helps to shape employment of the future by taking part in Government consultations on employment law change.

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Nicola Mullineux

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