Sentences for Corporate Manslaughter and Health and Safety Offences following fatal accident at quarry

An agricultural contracting company, from Lancashire, has been sentenced for Corporate Manslaughter and its directors imprisoned following the death of an employee.

Benjamin Edge, aged 25, died when he fell from the roof of a disused building at Fletcher Bank Quarry, near Ramsbottom, on 10th December, 2014. He was part of a team who were stripping metal sheets from the roof. The work had been carried out without any proper risk assessment or method statement. No scaffolding or nets had been provided, nor were there are harnesses or fall restraint system.

The employeer, SJ and RJ Brown Ltd admitted the offence of Corporate Manslaughter and was fined £300,000. Its directors, Christopher Brown and James Brown, admitted related Health and Safety Offences (ss. 2 and 3 HSWA). They also admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice in order to cover up the company’s failings. They were each sentenced to a total of 20 months imprisonment.

The principal contractor, MA Excavations Ltd, admitted breaches of s.3 HSWA and Reg 13 of the CDM Regulations. It was fined a total of £150,000 and its director, Mark Aspin, was sentenced to 12-months imprisonment.

Peter Heap, who was employed as a labourer on the job, was sentenced to 4-months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for his part in attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The case was prosecuted by Andrew Thomas QC of Lincoln House Chambers, instructed by CPS Specialist Casework in York. Lisa Roberts QC appeared on behalf of MA Excavations and Mark Aspin, instructed by Jeremy Bird of DWF.