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Health and Safety and the Duties of Directors

Health and Safety and the Duties of Directors

Company Fines and Director Sentenced After Carrying Out Unregistered Gas Work

The Duties of Directors are many and varied, and none are more important than those which relate to complying with Health and Safety Regulations. This article looks at a case where the company involved was fined £6,000, whilst the director (and his son) received community service sentences, with curfews, for carrying out unregistered gas work, and, therefore not complying with his duties as a director.

The Background to This Case

Mr Nigel Murray (‘the Director’) of N Murray and Sons Ltd (‘the Company’) has been fined and sentenced after conducting gas work at a domestic property in Mount Pleasant, Maldon without being gas safe registered.

The Company had been contracted in May 2014 to install two boilers at two domestic properties in Essex. Following the boilers being fitted, complaints had been made to the Gas Safe Register.

Gas Safe Register inspectors subsequently confirmed that the gas appliances installed by an employee of the Company were considered to be “at risk” and required immediate work to ensure the safety of the occupiers of the properties.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Director of the Company had sub contracted gas installation work to his son who he knew was not Gas Safe Registered. It was also found that he was aware that Grant Murray (son of the Director) was not competent or gas safe registered but allowed the work to be completed.

The Consequences of Failing to Adhere to the Duties of Directors

The Company pleaded guilty to breaching two charges of Regulation 3 (2) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

The company has been fined £6000.

  • Nigel Murray, the Director, pleaded guilty to breaching two charges of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been sentenced to a six-month community order and a 7pm – 5am curfew for four months.
  • Grant Murray pleaded guilty to breaching two charges of Regulation 3 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and he has been sentenced to a 12-month community order and a 7pm – 5am curfew for six months.

Comment From the Health and Safety Executive

Speaking after the hearing ,HSE inspector Edward Crick said:

“Gas Safe Registered engineers are regulated and have to ensure they can prove they are competent. This safe guard is removed when people choose not to register which is highlighted in this case, where the individual placed people at risk of harm in their homes.

“It is important that anybody who has gas work carried out checks their engineer is carrying a valid gas safe registered identification card. They should also check online or call Gas Safe Register to confirm they are competent to carry out the work.”

Our Comment on this Duties of Directors Case

Had Mr Murray taken the time to consider the capabilities of his son, he could have avoided the sanctions imposed on him by the HSE.

The case is a reminder that compliance with Health and Safety Legislation is a statutory requirement for Directors and that a failure to observe such duties can result in fines and community orders – prison sentences are also possible for the most serious cases – for a defaulting Director. Every worker has the right to work in a safe environment, and this case shows just how seriously the authorities take non-compliance when it comes to Health and Safety and the Duties of Directors

It is also a salutary reminder of the criminal law enforcement action the HSE will take against Directors if there is a failure to comply and that Company Directors will be pursued personally in respect of Health and Safety breaches.

As solicitors specialising in the area of regulatory compliance, we are well used to dealing with the tactics and strategy of defending such cases, to the best advantage of the Company and its Directors. We are also experienced in working with the insurers for the Director and/or the Company in such cases.

Contact us for Help and Advice Regarding the Duties of Directors

If you have any questions regarding your duties as a Company Director under Health and Safety legislation or more generally, and the effect of non-compliance in any case, please contact us or call us today on 0121 200 7040 for a FREE, no obligation initial chat.

The Health and Safety Duties of Directors

The Health and Safety Duties of Directors

Director Sentenced to Prison After Worker Falls and Dies. 

Under the various statutory regulatory frameworks that define and govern the duties of directors, health and safety at work is perhaps the most important. When these duties are not complied with, resulting in injuries and even death, the consequences can be severe for the director involved and tragic for the victim. This case study looks at The Health and Safety Executive’s (‘HSE’) investigation into the conduct of Mr Othman Ahmed Hussein of Woodmill Road, London (‘Mr Hussein’) following the death of a worker at his commercial bakery. Mr Hussein received a suspended prison sentence and a 3 month curfew for his crime.

The Background to This Case

On 15 September 2017, Southwark Crown Court heard how Mr Ezat Shamselden (‘Mr Shamselden’) fell through a mezzanine floor ceiling as he was undertaking building repairs at the Wembley based commercial bakery of Mr Hussein. Tragically, Mr Shamselden died of his injuries.

Investigations by the HSE found that the deceased, Mr Shamselden, lacked the required equipment, skills and competencies to undertake work at height safely. Mr Hussein was criminally prosecuted, in his capacity as Director.  He pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The section states that:

It shall be the duty of every… person [who conducts an undertaking of a prescribed description] to conduct [the undertaking] in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.’

Mr Hussein was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 2 years, given a three month 8:00pm to 7:00am curfew and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.

What the HSE Said

HSE Inspector Nicholas Faber said:

Vulnerable workers require the most support and individuals should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards.”

Our Comment on This Case and the Duties of Directors

Had Mr Hussein taken the time to carry out a basic check of the deceased’s capabilities, the tragic incident could have been avoided.

The case is a reminder that compliance with Health and Safety Legislation is a statutory requirement for Directors and that a failure to observe such duties can result in a prison sentence for a defaulting Director. Every worker has the right to work in a safe environment, and this case shows just how seriously the authorities take non-compliance.

It is also a salutary reminder of the criminal law enforcement action the HSE will take against Directors if there is a failure to comply and that Company Directors will be pursued personally in respect of Health and Safety breaches.

As solicitors specialising in the area of regulatory compliance, we are well used to dealing with the tactics and strategy of defending such cases, to the best advantage of the Company and its Directors. We are also experienced in working with the insurers for the Director and/or the Company in such cases.

Contact us for Help and Advice Regarding the Duties of Directors

If you have any questions regarding your duties as a Company Director under Health and Safety legislation or more generally, and the effect of non-compliance in any case, please contact us or call us today on 0121 200 7040 for a FREE, no obligation initial chat.

The Duties of Directors – Health and Safety Compliance

The Duties of Directors – Health and Safety Compliance

4 Deaths on a Construction Site: Director of Company in Default Fined and Sentenced to Imprisonment

The Duties of Directors are many, but none are more important than complying with Health and Safety regulations. In this article, we look at The Health and Safety Executive’s (‘HSE’) investigation into the conduct of two companies and a director in a large civil engineering project that tragically resulted in 4 deaths. Heavy fines for the companies involved and a prison sentence (suspended) for the director was the result.

Background to the Case

The parties involved were: Claxton Engineering Services Ltd and Encompass Project Management Ltd (‘the Companies’) and Mr David Groucott of Diss, Norfolk (‘the Director’) of Encompass Project Management Ltd.

Workers at an excavation site in Norfolk were constructing a large steel structure as part of the foundation for a Pressure Test Facility (‘PTF’) at Claxton Engineering Services in Great Yarmouth. The structure, weighing around 32 tonnes, collapsed on the group of workers who, tragically, were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The group were working for Hazegood Construction Limited, as a contractor for Encompass Project Management Ltd, who was the principal contractor for the services.

An investigation conducted by the HSE found serious flaws in the planning, management and monitoring of the project on the part of the Companies and the Director.

In total the Companies were fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £150,000 as a result of breaches of Regulation 9(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974, respectively.

Duties of Directors

What are a Client’s duties in relation to arrangements for managing projects?

These duties include:

“Every client shall take reasonable steps to ensure that the arrangements made for managing the project (including the allocation of sufficient time and other resources) by persons with a duty under these Regulations (including the client himself) are suitable to ensure that:

(a) the construction work can be carried out so far as is reasonably practicable without risk to the health and safety of any person…”

The General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.

“It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

The Director also Failed in His Duties by Breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act

Further to this, the Director pleaded guilty to breaching section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. That section requires:

Offences by bodies corporate

  • “Where an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

Breaching the duties of directors in relation to Health and Safety is a serious offence. The Director was sentenced to a seven and half month custodial sentence, suspended for two years. The Director was also ordered to pay costs of £7,500 and complete 200 hours of unpaid community work within 12 months.

What the Health and Safety Executive Said

HSE Construction Division Head of Operations Annette Hall said:

“Those sentenced today failed the four workers who died. They didn’t carry out their legal duties, leading to the events which caused their deaths.

This was a long term, large scale and complex civil engineering project which needed to be planned, designed, managed and monitored effectively. The tragedy here is that, in the months leading up to the accident, any one of these parties could and should have asked basic questions about building the structure safely. Such an intervention could have avoided the tragic outcome of this entirely preventable accident.

Comment on this Duties of Directors and Companies Case

Had both of the Companies and the Director complied with their duties, first and foremost the tragic deaths would not have occurred. In addition, the Companies and the Director would have avoided the reputational and financial damage caused by their lack of compliance with the law. The case is a reminder that compliance with Health and Safety legislation is a necessity for directors, and the duties they owe.

It is also a salutary reminder of the criminal enforcement action the HSE will take if there is a failure to comply and that company directors will be pursued personally.

Contact us for Help and Advice Regarding the Duties of Directors

Our Solicitors are well used to dealing with the tactics and strategy of defending cases involving the duties of directors to the best advantage of the company and its directors.

If you have any questions regarding your duties as a company director under Health and Safety legislation, and the effect of non-compliance, please contact us or call us today on 0121 200 7040 for a FREE, no obligation initial chat.

 

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