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Construction Boss Jailed After Balcony Deaths

Many of you will have seen this article both through the SHP and Construction Index – this instance is sadly not the first of its kind where lives have been lost and a Company director jailed and is an area of growing concern to employers and employees alike.

It is crucial that all businesses are aware of their responsibilities, understand the steps that can be taken to protect themselves and their employees and realise the severe consequences of failing to do so.

The need to offer proper training is paramount and significantly affects the protection of both employee and employer. There should be no instance where risk assessments are missed or ignored as these are a legal requirement for any employer or self-employed individual to make a formal assessment of all health and safety risks arising from their work – the purpose being to consider what exactly needs to be done to control and minimise these risks. All risk assessments for groups of more than 5 must be recorded.

Employers hold the responsibility to take care of their employees, protecting their welfare wherever possible. Risk Assessments don’t have to be complicated – they should cover the identification of risks, consideration of who might be harmed, evaluation of how likely this is and the assurance that everything that is reasonably practicable is done to ensure these risks are minimised. Significant findings should be recorded and regularly reviewed. No excuse.

The HSE in particular provide an excellent template to work to as well as example risk assessments meaning there is no excuse for not completing these – for further information you can view both samples and information on the below link:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm

Facts of the case:
Construction Company Director Martin Gutaj was found guilty of two counts of failure to discharge a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, contrary to section 33 (1) and section 71 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Whilst his company – Martinisation London Limited was found guilty of two counts of corporate manslaughter, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Corporation Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and two counts of failure to discharge a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, contrary to section 33 (1) and section 71 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company was fined £2.4m (£1.2m for each death) and £650,000 for breaches of Health and Safety Regulations, Martin Gutaj was sentenced to 14 months in prison.