Believed to be one of the first cases involving a company in the work at height sector, a Merseyside scaffolding firm has been fined £300,000 at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting a charge of corporate manslaughter following the death of father-of-three, Adrian Smith,44, who fell to his death from a roof in September, 2012.
Kings Scaffolding based in Netherley, Liverpool, pleaded guilty after failing to heed health and safety warnings or take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of Mr Smith, one of its employees, who was carrying out work on the roof of a shed at the firm’s headquarters. According to the prosecution: “It was an accident waiting to happen.”
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCHA) came into force on 6 April 2008. In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, the offence is called corporate manslaughter, and in Scotland, corporate homicide. By the end of 2014, 16 cases had been brought under the Act. This number is expected to rise significantly in 2015.
The Act is intended to make it easier for organisations to be held accountable for deaths caused by their failures. An organisation is guilty of a criminal offence under the Act if the way in which its activities are managed or organised cause a person’s death, and amount to a ’gross breach’ of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.