£324,000 fines for companies and suspended prison sentences for managers after 18-year-old is crushed in manhole
An 18-year-old construction worker died when a van ran over him while he had his head and torso in a manhole.
The van wheel went into the manhole, crushing the young man, who was taken to hospital but died of his injuries.
The young man, Josh Disdel, and another worker were employed by P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd and had been tasked with clearing debris from manholes at a house-build construction site at White Bridges, Boston, Lincolnshire.
While work was taking place, Mr Disdel’s colleague was asked if he could move the company van to allow another vehicle to pass. He was not aware that Mr Disdel was lying on the road with his head and torso in a manhole directly in front of the van.
As the vehicle moved forwards one of the wheels entered the top of the manhole, crushing Mr Disdel.
It happened in July 2018 and on 6 September this year two companies and two men appeared before Lincoln Crown Court charged with health & safety offences.
D Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd of Seas End Road, Spalding, was found guilty of contravening Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,765.92
P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd of Station Road, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,264.87.
Brent Woods of North Parade, Holbeach, Spalding, who worked for P & R Plant Hire, was found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. He was ordered to complete 200 hours community service and pay costs of £1,200.
Darrell Tripp, of Broadgate Lane, Deeping St James, Peterborough, a site manager with D Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd, was found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act. He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
The court heard that an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after the incident found that neither the Principal Contractor, D Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd, nor the groundworks sub-contractor, P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, had ensured that the work was planned in such a way as to ensure that workers were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
Brent Woods, a manager with P & R Plant Hire for approximately 10 years, sent employees to carry out the task without a risk assessment or method statement in place, despite having previously produced such information in the past.
In addition, workers had not been trained to work in a road, had not been provided with any equipment to ensure the work was carried out safely and had not been provided with any instructions on any safety measures to be used on-site.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Welsh said: “This was a completely avoidable incident, caused by a multitude of failures by both companies and both of the individuals who appeared in court.
“All of the defendants failed to adequately plan the work to identify the risks, failed to ensure that the individuals carrying out the work were trained and competent to do so, and failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place and followed.
“The result was the tragic loss of life of a young man who was looking forward to a bright future.”