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HSE and Regulatory Compliance Disputes

HSE and Regulatory Compliance Disputes

COMPANY AND ITS DIRECTOR FINED IN CRIMINAL LAW PROCEEDINGS FOR EXPOSING WORKERS TO FALL FROM HEIGHT RISKS

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (‘HSE’) into workplace risks and accidents can be intrusive and disruptive to you, as a Director, and your business. In regulatory compliance disputes where the case goes against you, fines and even custodial sentences can be the result for not fulfilling statutory Directors’ duties. In this article, our Health and Safety Lawyers look at and comment on a recent case where a company Director was fined for exposing his workers to ‘fall from height’ risks.

 BACKGROUND TO THIS REGULATORY COMPLIANCE DISPUTE

Sasie Limited, a solar panel installation company and its sole Director, Mr Een Marsden Kelly, have been fined for failing to manage and control fall from height risks.

Following a site visit by a HSE Inspector, the issue of there being two workers on a roof without any form of fall protection was made, with a prohibition notice served in relation to the same. When the HSE Inspector returned to the site three days later there was further unsafe work being carried out on the roof.

An investigation by HSE found that the unsafe work was allowed to continue by the Director, Mr Kelly despite a member of public bringing it to his attention and the serving of the prohibition notice. Clearly a case of a failure of the Director to comply with his duties.

THE CONSEQUENCES – A HEAVY FINE

Sasie Limited of Waterway Street, Nottingham pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to breaching Sections 2(1) and Sections 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and also Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £10,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £6,300.

The Director, Mr Een Marsden Kelly of Waterway Street, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £500.

HSE COMMENT

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Dominic Goacher said:

“Falls from heights are the one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries.

 All work at height must be properly planned irrespective of the task being undertaken and those in control must ensure suitable control measures to prevent falls are in place throughout the duration of the project.”

COMMENTS FROM OUR REGULATORY COMPLIANCE SOLICITORS

Had Mr Kelly taken the time to consider the risks of his inactions, he could have avoided the Criminal law sanctions imposed on the company and on him personally by the HSE for his lack of regulatory compliance. The adverse publicity and damage to reputation caused by the case could easily have been avoided.

This case is a reminder that regulatory compliance with Health and Safety Legislation is a statutory requirement for Directors personally and that a failure to observe such duties can result in fines and in serious cases, much worse, including imprisonment for the Director. Every worker has the right to work in a safe environment, and this case shows just how seriously the authorities take non-compliance.

As Solicitors specialising in the area of regulatory compliance issues, 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.

WORKING WITH YOUR INSURER

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 IN REGULATORY COMPLIANCE DISPUTES

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, contact us or call us on 0121 200 7040 for a FREE, no obligation initial chat.

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.

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