Building firm director given suspended jail term after glass fell on worker killing him in safety breach

A director has been given a suspended jail sentence and two firms given fines after a worker was killed when glass panes fell on him while unloading a shipping container.

The lorry
The lorry

Tawanda Chamwandayita, 37, suffered fatal crush injuries when about 17 glass panels fell on top of him while unloading materials from a shipping container.

A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and West Midlands Police found that the unloading was not properly planned, supervised or carried out safely.

The glass fell against Mr Chamwandayita's leg, knocking him off the rear of the lorry where he fell to the ground at a site, in Walsall Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham, on October 26, 2017.

The defendants failed to assess the risk of workers falling from the lorry and the risk from large and unsecured items falling from the lorry onto the employees.

And inexperienced and vulnerable workers, some of them as young as 17 years old were working in dangerous conditions with no supervision, inadequate equipment and without any planning or risk assessment done.

Leyton Homes (Perry Barr) Limited, of Walsall Road, was found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £55,084.67 in costs at Birmingham Crown Court on January 20.

Evergreen Construction (UK) Limited the principal contractor but failed to take action to ensure the safety of the workers.

The client Leyton Homes previously known as Hilux Developments Birmingham Ltd and Fast Item Residential Limited had engaged their own contractor to arrange the delivery and unloading of the container full of large and heavy items, including the glass.

Jalal Rana, managing director of Leyton Homes, was found guilty of breaching Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to nine months jail suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £57,171.95 in costs at Birmingham Crown Court on 20 January 2023.

Evergreen Construction (UK) Limited was found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations. The Essex company was fined £115,000 and ordered to pay £52,561.96 in costs.

HSE inspector Edward Fryer said: “This case highlights the importance of engaging competent contractors and making sure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. Management arrangements need to be clear between clients, contractors and principal contractors so that health and safety arrangements can be properly planned, coordinated and implemented.

“All parties are required to ensure that safety arrangements are in place and followed. This was a wholly preventable incident which led to the death of Tawanda Chamwandayita in tragic circumstances.”

Mr Chamwandayita lived in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham.

In a separate HSE case on Monday, United Pallet Network's (UPN) was fined £94,667 and ordered to pay costs of £7,590.34 after employee Andrew Potts, 58, was left permanently disabled after breaking his neck in five places at its Lichfield depot in 2016 when a ton of glass fell on him.

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