Health & Safety
Whilst it is increasingly said that “health & safety has gone mad,” it would be foolish for any organisation to ignore its responsibilities under the health and safety legislation.
The legislation is in place to ensure everyone can live and work in a safe environment and this is subject to regulation by the health and safety executive (“HSE”) and local authorities who are possessed with a number of powers which can be exercised and where sanctions for breach can be quite draconian with substantial fines being imposed and individuals at risk of custodial sentences.
It is important for organisations to have the appropriate systems in place and we are able to advise as to their compliance with the legislation.
Nevertheless, there are occasions when incidents occur and it is important to ensure that from the earliest stage, organisations their officers and staff are in receipt of the appropriate advice, guidance and representation.
It may well be that HSE or local government investigators wish to interview individuals, either under caution pursuant to the Police and Criminal Evidence act 1984 (“PACE”) or in accordance with section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work act 1974. It is vital to have expert advice and representation during the course of these interviews.
Companies may be served with either improvement or prohibition notices in connection with their operation or a part of it. This can seriously disrupt business and come with financial consequences. Appealing such notices to the employment tribunal is a complex area which requires expertise.
Companies their officers and staff may be prosecuted when things go wrong. The worst case scenario is following a fatality a prosecution can arise for either corporate or gross negligence manslaughter. These are complex and lengthy case which require a different approach to any other criminal prosecution.
We have a team with tremendous experience and expertise in this area and a track record of considerable success which gives us a unique perspective and approach to these cases for the benefit of our client’s.
Examples of cases that our team have handled:
- Gross negligence manslaughter: acted for the operator of a railway crane in connection with the death of four workers;
- Gross negligence manslaughter: acted for a company director following an electrocution incident;
- Gross negligence manslaughter: acted for a company director charged following the crushing of a worker in a stonecutting machine;
- Health and Safety at Work Act prosecution: gas fitter alleged to have unlawfully tampered with asbestos;
- Health and Safety at Work Act investigation: advised an independent school following injury to employee working at height;
- Gross negligence manslaughter : Advised crane operator in connection with investigation into death of an employee at a sugar refinery;
- Advised a construction company in respect of appeals against two prohibition notices issued three weeks apart.
- Acted on behalf of a Sikh temple served with a prohibition notice.
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