Welcome to the latest edition of our health and safety update where we look at the health and safety stories that have recently hit the headlines as well as the latest fines and sentences that have been handed down.

In the news

New gross negligence manslaughter guidelines introduced

New sentencing guidelines were brought in on 31 July 2018 for Gross Negligence Manslaughter cases. These took effect on 1 November 2018, and will apply to all such convictions from that date, regardless of the date of offence. They are the first guidelines on sentence length for this particular offence. However, they bear close similarities to the guidelines already in place for health and safety offences.

R v Winterton: Gross negligence manslaughter conviction upheld

The conviction of Andrew Winterton, the site manager who was held to be responsible for a labourer’s death after a trench collapsed, was upheld. In September 2014, Shane Wilkinson, a labourer, standing by or in an L-shaped trench, died after being buried in earth.

Coroner gives opinion on Pret a Manger case As has been widely reported in the news, 15-year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from an anaphylactic reaction, having eaten a non-pre-packed Pret sandwich containing sesame seeds.

Fines and sentences

£2.3m fine for Stagecoach after bus crash kills two people

Midland Red (South) Limited, part of the Stagecoach group of companies, was fined after a bus driven by Mr Kailash Chander, former mayor of Leamington Spa, crashed into a supermarket killing two people, after Mr Chander mistook the brake for the accelerator.

£1.2m fine for Southern Gas Network Plc after gas ignited

Southern Gas, and a construction company, Cliffe Contractors Ltd, were fined when a ruptured gas main ignited causing severe injuries and burns to two employees of Southern Gas, who had been called to repair the initial damage.

£300,000 fine for Bridgend County Borough Council after death of 15-year old boy

A 15-year old boy was killed after a collision with a school minibus. Ashley Talbot was crossing the road to get on his bus home when the collision occurred. Another student was also injured in the accident.

£337,500 fine for WHSmith after customer falls through a trapdoor

WHSmith was fined after a 64-year old woman fell through an open trapdoor into the basement of its shop in Taunton, Somerset causing life-changing injuries. Despite a staff member attempting to grab the falling customer, they could not stop her from falling 2.8 metres and suffering an injury that required three separate operations.

Two men convicted of manslaughter after girl dies from food allergy

Two takeaway workers, Mr Harun Rashid and Mr Mohammed Adbul Kuddus, were convicted of gross negligence manslaughter after serving a meal that contained allergens that Megan Lee, a teenage customer, had specified she could not eat when ordering through Just Eat. more>

Cot designer jailed after admitting health and safety charges and fraud charges

Judge Martin Spencer at Leeds Crown Court sentenced Craig Williams to three years and four months in prison for designing a dangerous cot in which seven-month old baby Oscar Abbey died, despite assurances Mr Williams gave to Oscar’s parents that the cot was safe. Oscar was fatally injured after he became stuck in a gap he was trying to crawl through. His body was found by his parents on 3 November 2016.

Environmental

Wessex Water to pay a record £975,000 for enforcement undertaking after a sewage spill into Swanage Bay

During 2016 and 2017 there were a series of illegal discharges from Swanage Sewage Treatment Works into Swanage Bay. It is estimated that in excess of 142,000 cubic metres of sewage was discharged into the bay.

Fine for Japanese knotweed infestation

A company based in Bristol has been fined £18,000 after failing to control knotweed infesting one of its properties.

Round up

HSE amends first aid advice to include mental health issues

For the first time the HSE has included mental ill health within its first aid advice.

Construction injury data now easier to access The HSE has published online construction injury records from RIDDOR records from 2011 to 2017.