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Jail for company bosses after failed attempt to cover safety failings

21 March 2017

Two company directors tried to cover up health and safety failings in their business after a worker died following a fall from a roof he had been working on.

He had been working on the roof of a metal structure but had not been wearing safety equipment, according to Manchester Evening News.

After suffering severe head injuries he died at Salford Royal Hospital, where he was taken after the accident on site at Ramsbottom, Bury.

The deceased had been working for SR and RJ Brown on the site, which was run by Marshalls Mono.

A joint investigation by Greater Manchester Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the directors of SR and RJ Brown had attempted to falsify the details of the accident.

A new risk assessment had been written after the incident and another worker had been sent to collect harnesses, with the intention of making it appear the deceased had chosen not to wear safety equipment.

It was further reported that company director Robert 'James' Brown had composed a "grossly inadequate" risk assessment prior to the start of the project.

The second assessment was written after the worker had been rushed to hospital.

Christopher Brown, the second director of SR and RJ Brown, was identified as the person who had sent the worker home to collect harnesses.

Both directors denied this, but admitted the attempt to falsify the risk assessment.

Their company had been contracted by MA Excavations, with director Mark Aspin stating his belief that it could complete the work safely but was found not to have checked on relevant qualifications.

Manchester Crown Court fined SR and RJ Brown £300,000 after brothers Christopher and Robert Brown admitted corporate manslaughter.

The two directors were also jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice and two counts of health and safety breaches.

Mr Aspin was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to health and safety offences.

MA Excavations, of Ramsbottom, Bury, was fined £75,000 by the court, after it pleaded guilty to two health and safety failings.

Peter Heap, the employee sent to fetch the safety harnesses, received a four-month sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting perverting the course of justice.

In addition to the need to follow the correct safety measures in all areas, the case shows the importance of ensuring that all contractors are suitably qualified and equipped to complete the tasks they are paid for.

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