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March 29, 2016

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HSE ‘failing to prosecute’ construction deaths, MP accuses

construction-siteThe HSE has been accused of a “failure to prosecute companies following a fatality” by Stephen Hepburn, MP.

In an article written for Politics Home, the Labour MP highlighted that in recent years the number of prosecutions following a construction fatality had continued to drop.

Citing figures gleaned from construction union UCATT, he explained that in 2007/8 convictions were being secured in 51% of cases, already below the HSE’s target of prosecutions in 60% of construction fatal accidents, and in 2012/13, only 35% have resulted in a conviction.

Hepburn also raised concerns over the length of time taken between a death occuring and a conviction.

“On average it now takes nearly two and a half years before a prosecution begins following a fatal construction accident and three and half years for a conviction,” he wrote.

“In extreme cases justice is delayed far longer. Last week, Falcon Cranes was fined £750,000 following the deaths of two people when a crane collapsed in Battersea, South London.

“That accident occurred in September 2006. It took nine and a half years for the wheels of justice to move very slowly indeed.”

Responding to the article, parliamentary under-secretary of state for disable people, Justin Tomlinson, said that more than 80% of HSE investigations into fatal accidents were completed within 12 months of receiving primacy.

He added that “several factors” can affect the pace at which fatal accidents are investigated, including “other bodies and agencies like the police, the coroners’ courts and even the justice system itself”.

The original article by Stephen Hepburn can be read on Politics Home.

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Robert Addenbrooke
Robert Addenbrooke
8 years ago

Is it a case that money counts more than life, look at the case of thomas Cooks with the deaths of two children dying with carbon monoxide poisoning ( DUTY OF CARE ) or is that a thing of the past, or should we rename it WEALTH and safety. ??????

8 years ago

I believe that the problem is the system to many departments involved prior to the prosecution process taking place which stops the HSE doing their job. What we need is one department who can evaluate the information so that a decision can be made quickly and effectively, this will stop in particular the pain and suffering for all those who are involved and have lost loved ones. One stop shop is needed will reduce costs and give closure to all concerned.

Matt Godding
Matt Godding
8 years ago

This Is I agree with, I know of a fatality on a construction site that not only were the contractor not sentenced but the fine was massively reduced due to the company having financial problems, shocking as the contractor had no controls for WAH or asbestos

Dom Cooper
Dom Cooper
8 years ago

HSE now in serious danger of becoming redundant. With the current Government’s efforts to pull the teeth of the HSE (see todays article on cost-cutting) , and the acquiescence of those in charge of the HSE to prioritise money making over its statutory obligations to regulate HSE in the UK, how long before the HSE is no longer in existence? Likelihood is they will be merged with some other agency (DTI?) and reduced to an advisory section within the next 20 years or so. If you think I am being bleak, or alarmist, look at how effective the HSE has… Read more »