• Robert Spicer

Wilful and flagrant disregard of health and safety: director jailed

Company and director sentenced for continuing safety failings

Health and Safety Executive v Crofty Point Metals Ltd and Robert Michael Collis (2017) Swansea Crown Court, August 23

Statutory reference: ss. 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA).

The facts

· In July 2013 the HSE was informed of a fire and explosion of used gas cylinders at Crofty Point Metals Ltd’s site in Swansea.

· This had resulted from deliberate arson and was the latest in a series of incidents.

· The HSE investigation involved a number of visits to the sites. Collis was the owner of the company and was ultimately responsible, The visits involved verbal and written advice relating to security fencing to prevent access to the site, maintenance of an excavator to ensure that no persons were put at risk and safety inspections of lifting equipment on safety vehicles used on the public highway.

· A number of enforcement notices were served on Collis and the company over a three-year period.

· In December 2016 HSE inspectors found the site unattended with the gate left open. It was full of waste and debris including gas cylinders. There was no clear area on site. The enforcement notices had not been complied with.

The decision

· The company was fined £30,00 under ss. 2 and 3 of HSWA.

· Collis was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for the same offences and for environmental offences. He was disqualified from being a director for seven years.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that it was among the minority of HSE investigations which was met with a consistent, wilful and flagrant disregard for the law, the environment, workers and members of the public.

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