A company was recently fined one million pounds at Stafford Crown Court after admitting one charge of failing to ensure peoples’ safety contrary to the Health and Safety Act 1974.
JTF Wholesale Ltd (‘the company’), a leading low cost DIY chain, pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to ensure the safety of persons other than employees contrary to section 3(1) and 33(1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, in respect of the incident which occurred in July 2012, but denied corporate manslaughter.
The Circumstances | Kangs Health & Safety Advisory Solicitors
In July 2012 twenty one people became infected with Legionnaires Disease as the result of bacteria escaping from filthy water in a hot tub.
The people infected had inhaled water droplets from the display at the company’s store in Stoke-On-Trent and, sadly, two of the infected men died.
In 2015, the company paid out in excess of two hundred thousand pounds in damages to the dead men’s relatives.
The company failed to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
Sentencing | Kangs Regulatory Law Trial Solicitors
Whilst sentencing Mrs Justice Andrews DBE said:
“This was a serious breach of a high duty of care which put many people, and not just those who contracted the disease, at risk of death or serious illness for a period of around five months. The risk arose despite some efforts, albeit inadequate ones, having been made to safeguard against it.”
Following the sentence, Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson said:
“JTF neglected its health and safety responsibilities and as a result has been handed a significant financial penalty. This should serve as a warning to other businesses – be clear on your duty of care.”
How Can We Help? | Kangs Health & Safety Solicitors
It is clear that Health and Safety is a vital part of any business and courts will not and do not hesitate in sentencing corporate bodies/management and even individuals when there are clear breaches of Health and Safety Legislation/Regulations.
Health and Safety covers a vast number of areas and affects business from sole traders all the way up to multi-national companies. This is a very complex area of law and often what you may perceive to be a minor breach may result in high financial penalties and in some cases imprisonment.
It is therefore important that if you or your company are being investigated for Health and Safety breaches that you seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.
Kangs Solicitors Regulatory Team has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters of Health and Safety law.
Our specialist lawyers are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process, from the initial intervention by the HSE through to enforcement, interview under caution and, ultimately, criminal prosecution.
Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs Solicitors
Please feel free to contact our team through any of the lawyers named below who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.