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JAIL TERM FOR DIRECTOR OVER AVOIDABLE DEATH

Workman crushed during movement of machinery by forklift

A managing director has been sentenced (21/01) for gross negligence manslaughter over the death of 37-year-old Shenol Shevka-Ahmed who was crushed by heavy machinery in January 2013.

Mohammad Babamiri ran a company from an industrial unit in Edmonton North London producing metal gates and fences. On 11 January 2013 the company was relocating to a smaller unit on the estate and a number of large items of machinery were to be moved.

Mr Babamiri, aged 59, drove a forklift truck to move a metal-cutting machine despite not possessing a license to drive the vehicle. At around 14:05hrs the machine ‘tipped’ trapping Mr Shevka-Ahmed.

A car jack was used to raise the machinery to rescue the victim who was treated at the scene before being taken to the Royal London Hospital. He died two hours later from crush injuries.

Simple precautions and common sense absent

Snaresbrook Crown Court has now handed down an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years. David Hawkins, aged 31 of Harlow, Essex, was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of health and safety offences. He today received a six-month sentence, also suspended for two years.

Mr Babimiri’s firm RK Metalworks and Hastingwood Securities Ltd were also found guilty of breaching health and safety legislation. RK Metalworks was fined a total of £150,000. Sentencing for Hastingwood Securities was adjourned until a later date.

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:

“This is a tragic case, the victim had only worked at the company for a matter of weeks and was overjoyed at having secured a job.

If the management that employed him had followed simple guidelines and used some common sense, then this incident would never have arisen. The accident itself was totally avoidable and has cost a man his life.”

HSE inspector Kevin Smith, who supported the joint HSE and police investigation, said:

“The circumstances surrounding Shenol’s tragic death are barely comprehensible. How anyone could have considered moving the guillotine with such inadequate equipment and an apparent absence of any planning as a safe and acceptable practice frankly beggars belief.

Doing so was fraught with risk and it was entirely foreseeable that should the heavy machinery topple or slip it could have devastating consequences – as proved the case.

The three parties sentenced today, chiefly Mohammed Babamiri, are culpable for the health and safety failings and I hope their convictions serve as a clear reminder to others that lifting operations of this nature must be properly planned, managed and executed by competent, trained personnel.”

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