Stone Worker Killed
A MASONRY business has been ordered to pay £237,000, including a £150,000 fine and costs after being convicted of corporate manslaughter.
The prosecution arose after a two-tonne block of limestone fell on a stonemason’s mate, 23-year-old David Evans, and killed him.
Imposing the fine on November 18, 2014, Judge Patrick Eccles QC said the penalty of a £150,000 fine with £87,117.69 costs did not match the gravity of the offence, but that it would be better to impose a smaller penalty that the company had some hope of paying.
The company was given five years to pay it.
The Judge pointed out that the starting point for most corporate manslaughter convictions is £500,000, but defence barrister Patrick Gibbs QC had argued that if the fine was too large the company would go into liquidation and none of the money would be paid.
Judge Eccles said responsibility for the failings that led to the death of a mason’s mate in February 2010 had to rest with the small company’s sole director, Richard Ferris.
He said: ‘Mr Ferris simply failed to educate himself in the relevant regulations and codes of practice designed to protect workmen from accidents such as that which caused Mr Evans’ death.’
He added that the ‘obvious risks’ involved in moving the block were not properly considered, which meant ‘the foreseeability of death or serious injury was high’.
During the trial, at Oxford Crown Court, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said there had been ‘almost non-existent planning’ before a two tonne block of limestone that fell on to David Evans and killed him was lifted into place on a concrete lintel.
Cavendish Masonry pleaded guilty to the offence under section 33 1a of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
The tragedy that led to the death of David Evans happened when Cavendish Masonry was working on a building site in Moulsford, near Wallingford.
The stone that fell on to the mason’s mate was to form part of a ‘rustic’ wall at the Well Barn Estate, during a £2m renovation of a property reported to be the £20m home of a former boss of Pizza Express.
Mr Evans, from Tilehurst, was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital by air ambulance, but died the same day.
He sustained serious injuries to his chest and abdomen when the two tonne limestone block fell off its lintel after the site manager allegedly told a crane driver to slacken the ropes holding it in place.
Detective Constable David Edwards from Thames Valley Police, which investigated the incident in conjunction with the HSE, said:
‘Although nothing will ever bring David back or change what happened, this conviction will provide the family with some sense of justice, and help to ensure nothing like this happens again.’
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.