Robert Marsh of RM Developments (2005) Ltd was prosecuted after it came to light that he was supplying pre used fragile asbestos cement roof sheets rather than substantial roofing material. A worker on a development site, Tony Podmore, fell through one of the sheets and sustained fatal injuries after a 6m fall. Despite charging £4,000 for roofing material, Mr Marsh had supplied second hand fragile roofing panels which cost him nothing. The only cost he incurred was the transportation costs of £250 which left a profit of £3,750.
After the incident Mr Marsh approached those involved to try and persuade them to hide the sheets and even encouraged Mr Podmore’s family to cover up his involvement, first by arguing that Mr Podmore fell off the edge of the roof rather than falling through a panel, and secondly by attempting to persuade them not to report the incident to the HSE.
On the first day of his trial at Worcester Crown Court Mr Marsh changed his plea to guilty in respect of one breach of 37(1) HSWA (where an offence by a company is caused by the consent, connivance or neglect of a director) and a contravention of the Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals Regulations 2008. His Honour Judge Michael Callum described Mr Marsh’s actions as “wholly reprehensible” and added that he had acted out of “selfish self interest” to maximise his need for profit over health and safety. Mr Marsh was sentenced to 12 months in prison, disqualified from acting as a company director for six years and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.