December 14, 2017

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In court

Company loses transport licence following corporate manslaughter conviction

A Walmersley-based company has had its transport licence revoked after it was convicted of corporate manslaughter and associated offences earlier this year.

The North West Traffic Commissioner, Simon Evans, made the order to revoke the transport licence held by SR & RJ Brown, with effect from 31 January 2018. His decision follows the corporate manslaughter conviction, after the death of worker Benjamin Edge.

Edge fell from a structure he was helping to dismantle and died from head injuries.

SR and RJ Brown, of which brothers Christopher and Robert Brown are directors, was fined £300,000 at Manchester Crown Court in March after admitting corporate manslaughter.

Christopher Brown, 25, of Gollinrod Farm, Gollinrod, Bury, and Robert Brown, 32, of Lower Gollinrod Farm, near Ramsbottom, also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and two counts of health and safety breaches.

Jail terms

The Brown brothers were jailed for 20 months, while a count of manslaughter for the pair is to lie on file.

Mark Aspin, 37, of Hameldon Road, Hapton, Lancashire, was jailed for a year after admitting health and safety offences.

The company he is director of – MA Excavations Ltd, of Garden Street, Ramsbottom, which contracted out the work – was fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety breaches.

Employee Peter Heap, 34, of Copthurst Farm, Barrowford Road, Padiham, Burnley, was spared jail after he followed orders to bring safety harnesses to the site after his colleague had fallen to try to conceal what had happened.

His four-month sentence for perverting the course of justice, which he had admitted, was suspended for two years.

Acting in a reckless fashion

In his written decision, North West Traffic Commissioner Evans concluded: “I find it difficult to envisage a much more serious set of circumstances than those that surround the role of this company in the death of Benjamin Edge. That is, two of its directors – the Brown brothers – committing the company far beyond its capability, acting in a reckless fashion, not keeping fellow directors informed and then seeking to cover up in a most despicable fashion what they had done when things went wrong.

“The operator is expected to put in place safe systems of work whether related to transport or not, to be operated in conjunction with its transport manager, to ensure the safety of staff deployed in the business.

“I am not satisfied taking into account the history of this operator, that I can be assured that the sort of system and process failures that led to the death of Benjamin Edge will not be repeated in the future in the context of transport, particularly with the Brown brothers playing such a prominent role in it.”


Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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