Two managers have been sentenced to prison time after an 18-year-old construction worker died in 2018. Josh Disdel, employed by P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited, died after being run over by a van on a house-build construction site in Boston, Lincolnshire.
On 6 September 2022, a Site Manager for D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited and a Manager at P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and eight weeks imprisonment suspended for two years, respectively.
The incident took place in July 2018 when Mr Disdel had been instructed to remove debris from manhole covers on the construction site. While lying on the road with his head and torso in a manhole, he was run over by an unknowing colleague who had been asked to move a van to allow another vehicle to pass.
Mr Disdel was taken to hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
What health and safety laws did the companies break?
During an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that neither company had ensured the safety of workers on site with appropriate health and safety measures. Both companies received a fine and were ordered to pay legal costs.
D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited was found to have violated Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974:
It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,765.92.
P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited pleaded guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974:
It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
P & R Plant Hire was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,264.87.
What health and safety laws did the managers break?
Brent Woods, a manager at P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited, was found guilty of breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974:
It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.
It was found that Mr Woods had sent Mr Disdel and other workers to carry out the task without a risk assessment or method statement in place. He had also failed to ensure that employees were trained to work safely on roads, and had neglected to provide safety instructions or appropriate equipment to carry out the task.
He was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
Darrell Tripp, a site manager for D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited, was also found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.
He was found to have failed to enforce a safe system of work on site, including introducing adequate control measures to mitigate risk.
Mr Tripp was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
HSE inspector Mark Welsh said of the incident:
This was a completely avoidable incident, caused by a multitude of failures by both companies and both of the individuals who appeared in court.
The result was the tragic loss of life of a young man who was looking forward to a bright future.
How to ensure your construction site is a safe place to work
To ensure your construction site is safe for workers, you and your employees should undergo regular health and safety training. A few essential site safety courses include:
- CITB Health & Safety Awareness
- SSSTS (Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme)
- SMSTS (Site Manager’s Safety Training Scheme)
- Director’s Role for H&S
At HCS Safety, we also provide a Membership Service. Members benefit from a high level of support from health and safety experts to ensure your workplace meets all legislation. Contact our team today to find out more.