A welding firm has been fined £450,000 plus costs for fatigue management failures that resulted in the deaths of two of its workers.
Renown Consultants Limited was sentenced by HHJ Godsmark at Nottingham Crown Court on 13 May following a prosecution by the Office of Rail and Road.
The sentencing concludes a seven-year long case. Zac Payne, 20, and Michael Morris, 48, died on 19 June 2013 while traveling in a company van back to Doncaster after a night shift in Stevenage in the early hours of the morning and crashed into a parked articulated lorry.
ORR said this marked the first time it has prosecuted for failures of fatigue management.
Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways said: “We welcome the sentence which shows the seriousness with which the court has taken this tragic case and shows the fatal consequences that can occur when fatigue policies are disregarded.
“We hope this has acted as a reminder to companies that fatigue policies should be enforced.”
His Honour Judge Godsmark, passing the sentence virtually, said: “Operations and managers knew what they were supposed to do in relation to fatigue but lip service was paid to these systems. Senior operations cut corners and I found blindness at Doncaster in relation to people driving to and from jobs.”
Renown was fined with costs of £300,000 for breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Kevin Bridges, partner at Pinsent Masons law firm, and Fiona Cameron, lawyer, said this marks the first prosecution of its kind by a UK health and safety regulator.
Writing for Pinsent Masons' "out-law" news website, they commented that other cases have been focused on “more obvious operational failures” by defendants.
The lawyers said the case sets a precedent for regulators to prosecute solely on the basis of welfare management issues – such as fatigue, wellbeing and mental health and that regulators will give these greater scrutiny: “This leaves the door open for charges to be laid.”
Pinsent Masons comment here
Renown fine here
By Belinda Liversedge on 07 May 2021
A worker who died at a Metro train depot in South Gosforth had been previously seriously injured while working for the same firm, a court heard.
By Belinda Liversedge on 30 April 2021
An asbestos removal contractor has been fined £150,000 after a worker was killed after he cut through a live gas pipe which the company had failed to isolate.
By Belinda Liversedge on 16 April 2021
A woman was left with life changing injuries after she plunged 6 foot down into a basement lightwell through rusted railings at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Southport.