A construction company director has been jailed for three years and nine months after being convicted of manslaughter following the death of a labourer
Conrad Sidebottom, commercial director of Siday Construction Ltd of Park Road, Hertford, was found guilty at Southwark Court and sentenced on 4 December following the death of Anghel Milosavlevici, aged 37, of Walthamstow on 2 December 2010.
Also convicted was Richard Golding, aged 43, a self-employed health and safety consultant of High Street, Hadleigh, Benfleet, Essex, who had been contracted to provide health and safety advice to Siday. He was jailed for nine months.
He had denied failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others, a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The court was told that Mr Milosavlevici was employed by Siday to work on a residential property in Fulham, where the owners wanted to create a new lower ground floor. This involved partially excavating the basement and installing concrete piles to support the building.
However, the excavations were not properly supported and collapsed, crushing and trapping Mr Milosavlevici, who was pronounced dead at the scene. A local authority building control officer subsequently found the house was potentially at risk of collapse and it had to be stabilised by independent contractors.
As site manager, Sidebottom was responsible for the management of the works on the site. The jury was told that he was aware of the dangerous state of excavations but took no steps to ensure it was safe.
The court also heard that as a qualified health and safety advisor, Golding was well aware of the risks associated with working in excavations. He was responsible for drafting the method statement which set out a system of work to be followed by those working on the project, purportedly to ensure their safety.
However, the document he drafted was inadequate and not followed. He was also responsible for carrying out health and safety inspections on site and had authority to stop dangerous works, but failed to do so.
Det Chief Insp Tim Duffield, who led the investigation for the Metropolitan Police, in association with the Health and Safety Executive, said: “There was overwhelming evidence that Sidebottom and Golding’s failure to carry out their respective roles directly resulted in the death of Anghel Milosavlevici.
“In this case the danger of collapse was not only foreseeable; it had been specifically identified by Golding in his risk assessments.”
HSE inspector Dominic Long added: “Had all the excavations on site been properly shored and propped the fatal collapse simply would not have happened.
“In addition, had Richard Golding inspected the site properly during his earlier visits he would have identified both that work wasn’t being carried out in accordance with a written safe system of work, and that the excavations posed a clear risk. By failing in his duty he allowed unsafe work practices to continue with devastating consequences.”
Jeremy Sirrell, a partner at Palmers whose expertise includes representation in health and safety prosecutions, said: “This is a tragic case, in which a young man has very sadly has lost his life and two others have almost certainly irreparably damaged their reputations and future employment prospects, by failing to do what they were supposed to do – look after the health and safety of other people.
“Cases like this are a stark reminder that health and safety is not an optional extra – it is an essential of every business, from those involved in low risk activities to those in sectors, like construction, where workplaces can also be potentially very dangerous places. For more information on our health and safety compliance and representation services, please contact us.”