• Robert Spicer

Death fall: health and safety prosecution: prison sentences

Fall death: suspended prison sentence

Health and Safety Executive v Tameem Shafi and Mohammed Shafi Karbhari (2015) Preston Crown Court, May 19

Tameem Shafi (TS) and Mohammed Shafi Karbhari (MSK) have been sentenced following the death of a worker in a fall.

Significant points of the case

• In January 2012 Ivars Bahmanis, a Lithuanian national, was carrying out refurbishment work, involving the installation of metal brackets for new roof joists at the former canal works in Blackburn.

• He fell eight metres from a wall and suffered fatal injuries. No safety measures were in place.

• The defendants had failed to plan the work at height or to employ competent contractors.

• They had deliberately chosen to save money and were well aware that work was being carried out in an unsafe manner using unskilled workers.

TS, who was in charge of the project, was sentenced to 45 weeks imprisonment for breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

MSK, the owner of the mill, was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, for a breach of regulation 9, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that the defendants had tried to save money by asking unskilled works to carry out hazardous work activities around the building. As a result, the deceased had died needlessly in a horrifying incident which could and should have been prevented. There had been a previous incident on the site where a worker fell from height and broke his leg. This was never reported to the HSE.

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