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.
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.