Firm’s health and safety failure cost man his life - Palmers Solicitors

Firm’s health and safety failure cost man his life

A building firm has been fined £130,000 over the death of a worker who was struck by a reversing van outside a cinema.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Preston-based EMC Contracts Ltd after Carl Green was struck by the van in a paved area outside the entrance to the Odeon Cinema in Ashton-on-Ribble on 27 July 2010.

Mr Green, aged 45, from Chorley, had been working on a project to fit out a new coffee shop in the cinema. Preston Crown Court was told an employee of EMC Contracts, which had been hired for the coffee shop project, unloaded his van and was reversing it to park outside the cinema when it struck Mr Green, who was crossing behind it.

An HSE investigation found the company had no control measures in place to keep vehicles involved in the construction work away from pedestrians outside the cinema. As a result, both workers and members of the public were put in danger.

The company had written a method statement for the work, which identified the risk of pedestrians being injured by vehicles as a main hazard. However, it failed to state what measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk.

EMC Contracts Ltd, which has been put into voluntary liquidation, was found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company, of Faraday Court in Fulwood, was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,790 in prosecution costs on 5 March.

HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: “Carl Green tragically lost his life because the company that employed him didn’t fulfil its responsibilities to ensure his health and safety.

“EMC did not take any action to ensure its vehicles operated safely on the paved area in front of the cinema, therefore putting members of the public and its own employees in danger.

“There were numerous measures the company could have implemented to either eliminate or reduce the risk of collision, such as prohibiting vehicles from reversing or avoiding using its vehicles outside the cinema entrance altogether. These measures could have been implemented with little cost but the company still failed to act.”

Staying compliant on health and safety issues is a wise investment for any employer as those break health and safety laws will be required to pay for the HSE’s time and effort in investigating the matter, helping them to put it right and taking enforcement action.

For more information on how Palmers can assist employers with health and safety issues, or if you are facing prosecution, please visit the Palmers website or contact our health and safety specialists Lara Murray and Jeremy Sirrell.