Head Of Training, SHP Online

September 5, 2016

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Company director jailed following second fatality

Company director Kenneth Thelwall, from Enfield, has been jailed for 12 months following the death of one of his employees resulting from the overturn of a spider lift during loading. This fatality follows the guilty plea from Mr Thelwall over a seperate incident in 2010 when employee Bernard Rowson was crushed to death in a metal gate.

In the more recent incident of 29 January 2014, Paul Williamson, 51, was fatally injured when the 18 metre spider lift he was loading in a street in Stockport, overturned on him as he walked alongside with the remote controller.

Manchester Crown Court heard how the father-of-three had not been adequately trained on the use of the ramps, the lorry and the Mobile Elevated Working Platform (MEWP). There was no risk assessment in place and no safe system of work had been created for the equipment, which had only been in operation for eight days.

The gradient of the ramps were above the manufacturer’s specification and they were not secured to the lorry. As the MEWP, a Spider 1800, was loaded onto the truck it toppled off the ramps on to Paul Williamson.

Company director Kenneth Thelwall, Burleigh Road, Enfield, was charged under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay costs of £4,000. He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years.

Thorn Warehousing Ltd was charged under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act was fined £166,000 and ordered to pay £10,400 costs. The company is currently in administration.

Judge Leeming said: “Two men have now tragically died in the workplace at a time when you were the sole director of the company. You have shown your intention to never again be a director of a company, but you may change your mind so I disqualify you from being a director of a company for seven years.”

HSE’s Inspector, Helen Jones said: “Kenneth Thewall failed in his duty as a director to protect his workers. He was involved in the day-to-day running of Thorn Warehousing Ltd and should have ensured the company provided Paul Williamson with the right equipment and training to carry out his job. Had he done so Mr Williamson would still be alive today.

“This case should act as a stark warning to all company directors of their personal responsibility to protect their workers’ health and safety and the tragic consequences when they fail.”

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Danny
Danny
5 years ago

The jail term and the fine are nowhere near large enough in my opinion

Afrane
Afrane
5 years ago

Sad news and at the same time big time lessons to all leaders, safety is personal and we must encourage all workforce to comply.

Peter Longworth
Peter Longworth
5 years ago

Obviously the enforcing authority did not feel confident of a successful prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and so used section 37 instead. Lower penalties available

Family member
Family member
4 years ago

The justice system leaves a lot to be desired. Ken Thelwall served just 3 months whilst we as a family still live with the devastation caused.

Family member of Bernard Rowson
Family member of Bernard Rowson
4 years ago
Reply to  Family member

This is so tragic – we as a family were so determined that this should never happen to anyone else, but sadly it has. The justice system needs to provide a stark warning to those who ignore their H&S responsibilities as a director of a company, and sadly the fact that Kenneth Thelwall has only served such a short sentence and we pay the ultimate price of losing a loved one does not provide justice.