A health and safety consultant has been jailed for nine months and a company director for over three years for their “shocking” failures that led to a labourer being crushed to death when an excavation collapsed.
Anghel Milosavlevici, 37, was working for Siday Construction Ltd on a basement extension when the unsupported wall of a trench dug in preparation for underpinning the walls of the property gave way. The emergency services were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The firm’s commercial director, Conrad Sidebottom, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter and jailed for three years and three months.
The jury was told that Sidebottom, the site manager, was aware of the dangerous state of excavations at the west London property but took no steps to ensure they were made safe.
Self-employed health and safety consultant Richard Golding, 43, was contracted to provide advice for the project on Ellersby Street, Fulham. He wrote a safe system of work for the task, but it was found to be inadequate and was ultimately not followed. He was also responsible for carrying out health and safety inspections on site and had authority to stop dangerous works, but failed to do so.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty of breaching section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
HSE inspector Dominic Long said: “Had Richard Golding inspected the site properly during his earlier visits he would have identified both that work wasn’t being carried out in accordance with a written safe system of work, and that the excavations posed a clear risk. By failing in his duty, he allowed unsafe work practices to continue with devastating consequences.”
Golding, left, was jailed for nine months; Sidebottom for three years and three months.
In October 2010 Siday Construction was contracted to renovate the semi-detached house and construct a new lower ground floor. The walls had to be underpinned, which involved partially excavating the basement and installing concrete piles to support the building.
“There was overwhelming evidence that Sidebottom and Golding’s failure to carry out their respective roles directly resulted in the death of Anghel Milosavlevici,” said DCI Tim Duffield, who headed the investigation. “In this case the danger of collapse was not only foreseeable, it had been specifically identified by Golding in his risk assessments. Sadly, for Anghel’s family this lapse would have tragic consequences and give rise to his untimely death.”
In a statement, Anghel’s sister Cristina and fiancée Claudia said: “Anghel’s death is such a tragic loss. He was the most gentle, kind-hearted and generous man you could ever hope to meet.
“We hope [the] verdict makes other construction company directors take stock of their own working practices, and ensure that they are doing everything possible to keep their workers safe.”
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