Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

hseTwo company directors have been heavily fined and given suspended sentences after a worker was killed in a workplace accident involving a dumper truck.

Mr Daniel Whiston, 20, was killed at Sweetings Farm near Tiverton in October 2009 after a four-tonne dumper truck over-turned on a bank and crushed him. Two directors of Wedgewood Building Limited, Mr Friend and Mr Plume, were subsequently found guilty of health and safety breaches and fined a combined total of £50,000, as well as being given suspended sentences and ordered to undertake community service.

Mr Whiston started work for Wedgewood Buildings Limited on 27 October 2009 as a labourer and was assigned to work on the expansion of a pond at Sweetings Farm. On the day in question Mr Whiston was put to work on a four-tonne dumper truck and told to excavate the pond and move spoil around the site. Whilst Mr Whiston was driving the dumper-truck he drove up a bank with a full load of spoil in the excavator and toppled down a 60 degree slope, falling out of the truck and being crushed to death.

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) was notified of the accident and investigated. Their investigations found that there were a number of health and safety breaches by Wedgewood Buildings Limited including:

  • A failure to properly train Mr Whiston to undertake his duties;
  • A failure to ensure that a trained, competent teacher was teaching and supervising Mr Whiston;
  • That the dumper had a number of serious defects, including steering failure, defecting and inoperative front braking and a non-functioning handbrake with worn-out parts;
  • No suitable or sufficient risk assessments being undertaken;
  • No safe system of work being undertaken; and
  • That the causeway used by the dumper truck to transport material from the pond to the dump site was too narrow for the dumper

The HSE investigation recommended that the directors of Wedgewood Buildings Limited, Mr William Friend and Mr Robert Plume, be prosecuted for health and safety breaches.

The case came to the Exeter Crown Court on 22 December 2014 with both directors each pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Each director was given a suspended custodial sentence of 12 months, suspended from being company directors for two year, given 180 hours of community service (to be completed within a year), and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £25,000 each.

HSE inspector Mr Jonathan Harris stated after the sentencing: “Anyone in control of construction projects must ensure the work is properly planned and risk assessed to avoid similar tragedies in the future. Knowing what needs to be done is not the same as knowing how it should be done safely.”

Marc Hadrill, a specialist personal injury solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Company directors – as well as companies – have duties under health and safety legislation to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of workers – the court found in this instance that the company and the company directors had not taken those steps.”

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.76 Average

    235 Reviews

    Paul O

    Chris & Rana guided me through a redundancy discussion. Prompt & patient assistance with the documents & meetings. Clear advice & fast responses regarding negotiations. Would definitely recommend & would use again without hesitation.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Outstanding, efficient service. Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jaswant S

    Very very happy with the good service I got Thank you so much for your help

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Mel and Chris were fantastic and supportive throughout! 1000% recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Emma D

    Good responsive service

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mike T

    Good efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Brenda G

    Very professional and helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    Charles A

    Chris Hadrill was recommended to me when I found myself in need of a solicitor at very short notice. He contacted me almost immediately to arrange a call. Chris handled my case in a professional and timely manner and kept me notified throughout. Chris inspired confidence and made me feel I was being cared for. If ever I'm in need of legal representation, I would not hesitate to contact Chris. And will gladly recommend him to family and friends.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rosalind R

    I was very happy with the service that I received from Redmans Solicitors. They were able to advise me accordingly with regards to my employment matter and stay within the agreed costing.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karl B

    Caroline and Chris were so helpful and friendly. Couldn't of asked for a better service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dimitrios P

    Excellent, professional service, in time and within the expected value.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Barbara K

    Everything quickly and fairly. Very professional. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sabrina J

    I received a efficient professional service during the whole process of liasing between myself and my former employer to getting all forms signed and receiving my redundancy payment in full in the summer of this year.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I received legal advice on a redundancy settlement agreement from Redmans Solicitors and was very impressed by the quality of their service. Chris Hadrill is highly experienced in settlement matters and was especially understanding of the particulars of my case, going out of his way to ensure that it was resolved quickly and with the utmost professionalism. I have no hesitation in recommending Redmans to anyone in need of employment advice and settlement resolution.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, with full explanations of everything needed. Both Chris and Mel answered all emails very promptly and were personable and efficient.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I would like to thank Chris Hadrill, in particular who handled my case, for all his hard work, expertise and dedication. He listened with empathy and offered suitable advice, which made me feel valued and confident through a difficult time. I would highly recommend Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 1 month ago