• Robert Spicer

Four workers killed on excavation site: companies and director prosecuted

Multiple deaths on excavation site: two companies and director sentenced

Health and Safety Executive v Claxton Engineering Services Ltd, Encompass Project Management Ltd and David Groucott (2017) Central Criminal Court, May 25

Statutory reference: ss.3 and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA) and regulation 9 of the Construction (Design and Management Regulations 2007 (CDM).

Two companies and a director have been sentence following the deaths of four workers at an excavation site.

The facts

· In January 2011 workers were constructing a large steel structure as part of the foundations of a Pressure Test Facility at Claxton’s site in Great Yarmouth.

· The structure weighed several tonnes. It collapsed on top of the workers, causing fatal crush injuries to Adam Taylor, Peter Johnson, Thomas Hazelton and Daniel Hazelton.

· The decease were working for Hazegood Construction. Daniel Hazelton was an employee and the others were self-employed contractors. Encompass was the principal contractor and Hazegood was acting as contractor.

· There were serious flaws in the planning, management and monitoring of the project.

The decision

· Claxton Engineering Services was fined £500,000 plus £100,000 costs under regulation 9, CDM.

· Encompass Project Management was fined £200,000 plus £50,000 costs for a breach of s.3, HSWA.

· David Groucott, a director of Encompass, was sentenced to seven and a half months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, 200 hours of unpaid community service and £7500 costs, under s.37, HSWA.

An HSE inspector commented that this had been a long term, large scale and complex engineering project which needed to be planned, designed and managed effectively.

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