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Site manager and safety consultant jailed after labourer’s death

A company co-owner and a health and safety advisor have been jailed following the death of a labourer in Fulham in December 2010.

A company co-owner and a health and safety advisor have been jailed following the death of a labourer in Fulham in December 2010. Thirty-seven-year-old Anghel Milosavlevici was crushed to death while working on a basement excavation in Ellerby Street, Fulham. The excavations were not properly supported and collapsed, crushing and trapping Mr Milosavlevici. The emergency services were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Southwark Crown Court heard how Mr Conrad Sidebottom of Siday Construction Ltd who was also the site manager, was aware of the dangerous state of the excavations, but took no steps to ensure it was safe. It was also heard that Mr Richard Golding, a qualified health and safety advisor employed by AllDay Safety Services Ltd, was also aware of the risks as he was responsible for drafting the method of work statement. This document was found to be inadequate and was not followed, despite him having the authority to stop dangerous works, which he failed to do.

The HSE said that:

  • The method statement included information that was copied and pasted from a document relating to a previous basement job undertaken by SIDAY;
  • The method statement was prepared without reference to any temporary works engineer drawings or schemes in relation to the propping and shoring temporary works that would be needed on site. This was to be added by SIDAY at a later date according to the method statement – but this did not happen. The method statement was therefore inadequate;
  • The method of work was changed when on site, meaning that people were digging with buckets and spades, making the need for adequate propping and shoring even more important;
  • Mr Golding visited the site monthly. His last visit to the site was nine days before the incident on 23 November 2010. He maintained in interview and in court that he was unaware of any excavations apart from a shallow trial pit at the front of the building, despite the main contractor’s (PRODG Ltd) photos showing a number of deep unshored and unpropped excavations; and
  • Mr Golding did not take action even though the method statement was not being followed and he did not question the temporary works.

On sentencing the Judge said that Mr Golding’s defence (in relation to seeing no excavations on site) was “ludicrous” and that his failure to do anything when on site showed a level of disregard to the workforce that was “staggering”.

Co-owner of Siday Construction Ltd, Conrad Sidebottom, 46, of Park Road, Hertford, was found guilty of manslaughter on 2 December and was sentenced to three years and three months in jail. Richard Golding, 43, of Hadleigh, Benfleet, Essex was found guilty of exposing another to a risk of health and safety and was jailed for nine months.

This case serves as a wake up call for site managers and safety consultants who must ensure that method statements and risk assessments, are both task specific and suitable and sufficient to adequately address risk.