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Suspended sentences and fines after 18-year-old construction worker’s death

An exposed manhold cover with a yellow-based, red traffic cone to the right of the image (Image: HSE)
Image: HSE

Two construction company employees have received suspended prison sentences, and two companies were fined, after an 18-year-old construction worker’s death on a site.

In July 2018 Josh Disdel and another worker, both employed by P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, were clearing debris from manholes at a house-build construction site at White Bridges, Boston.

Disdel’s colleague was asked if he could move the works van to allow another vehicle to pass. However, he was not aware that Disdel was lying on the road with his head and torso in a manhole, directly in front of the van.

As the vehicle moved forwards one of the wheels entered the top of the manhole contacting Disdel. He was then taken to hospital but later died as a result of serious crush injuries.

Fines and suspended sentences

P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, D Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd, Brent Woods and Darrell Tripp were all fined following the death.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that neither the principal contractor, D Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd, nor the groundworks sub-contractor, P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, had ensured that the work was planned to ensure that workers were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

Brent Woods, a manager at P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) for approximately 10 years, sent employees to carry out the task without a risk assessment or method statement in place, despite having produced such information in the past.

In addition, workers had not been trained to work in a road, had not been provided with any equipment to ensure the work was carried out safely and had not been provided with any instruction on safety measures to be used at site.

No site induction

Lincoln Crown Court heard how Darrell Tripp, a site manager for D Brown (Building Contractors) for approximately four years, having worked in the construction industry for about 40 years, did not carry out a site induction for Josh Disdel. He also failed to carry out suitable checks to ensure the workers had the relevant training. And Tripp failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place or whether there were adequate control measures.

D Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd of Seas End Road, Spalding, was found guilty of contravening Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,765.92

P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, of Station Road, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  The company was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,264.87.

Brent Woods of North Parade, Holbeach, Spalding, was found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years. We was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay costs of £1,200.

Darrell Tripp of Broadgate Lane, Deeping St James, Peterborough, was found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.  He was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.

‘Completely avoidable’

HSE inspector Mark Welsh said: “This was a completely avoidable incident, caused by a multitude of failures by both companies and both of the individuals who appeared in court.

“All of the defendants failed to adequately plan the work to identify the risks, failed to ensure that the individuals carrying out the work were trained and competent to do so, and failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place and followed.

“The result was the tragic loss of life of a young man who was looking forward to a bright future.”

The post Suspended sentences and fines after 18-year-old construction worker’s death appeared first on Construction Management.

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