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August 2, 2011

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Firms fined £300,000 for dangerous-drop oversight

Inspector Frain said: “When employees are working at height, proper plans must be in place and workers made aware of possible risks. In this case, Mr Grant had not been made aware of the dangerous drop where he was working. If he had been, a tragic incident could easily have been avoided.”

In mitigation, both companies said they immediately put in place arrangements to maintain the camera. Serco also revised its survey policy to ensure that those undertaking surveys are clear what they should be looking for, and why.

Asked what could have been done to manage the risks of a fall, inspector Frain said extra handrails could have been fixed on the wall, if necessary. However, more fundamental was the question of whether the camera needed to be there at all, and whether the risk could have been removed by having more cameras at different locations along the motorway.

The incident took five and a half years to get to court, largely because the original Police investigation looked at possible manslaughter charges. Three Serco employees were arrested during the investigation, although no charges were ever brought.

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11 years ago

Over five years to get to court because the original Police investigation looked at possible manslaughter charges – are you kidding!! The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act did not get Royal Assent until 2007 and became law in April 2008. Way out of date for this incident which occurred in 2006.

There was absolutely no chance of a conviction under the now absolved common law ‘corporate’ manslaughter – any lawyer worth his wig could have advised that in 5 minutes – Pathetic!

11 years ago

Thank you SHP Editor for clarifying that point. However, it would have helped if the article had referred to ‘gross negligent manslaughter’ charges.

The time frame is still far too long in my humble opinion.

11 years ago

For clarification, the manslaughter charges that were considered related to involuntary manslaughter and not the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act. The HSE also had to wait for the coroner’s inquest to conclude.