Work sought as cheaply as possible with disregard for worker safety
A Birmingham businessman has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for gross negligence manslaughter (17 Jan 2017) after a contractor fell to his death from a factory roof.
Mafizur Rahman, aged 32, was sentenced for the gross negligence which led to the death of 29-year-old Tomasz Galwaz on 5 January 2015.
Mr Galwaz and a friend were engaged by Rahman in December 2014 to carry out repairs to the roof of the Al Amin warehouse in Aston owned by his brothers and father.
No discussion around safety procedures
The agreement was carried out through an interpreter as the two men, who were Polish, spoke very little English. The interpreter later told police there were no discussions about safety procedures, personal protective equipment or risk assessments. There was also no mention of insurance.
It was when the two men started the second of three days of work on the roof that a roof sheet “cracked” and they both fell through straight onto a concrete floor below.
Mr Galwaz was rushed to hospital but later died from his head injuries. The second man suffered minor injuries.
Det Insp Jim Munro from West Midlands Police said;
“The recklessness and negligence showed by Mr Rahman in this case led directly to the death of Mr Galwaz and we are pleased the severity of this was recognised in court today.
Rahman’s main priority was to get the job done as cheaply as possible with complete disregard for the safety of these workers – with tragic consequences. We hope this sentence sends out a message to others than health and safety is not an optional extra.”
The police investigation was carried out in close partnership with the Health and Safety Executive.
Clients must take active interest
Al Amin Wholesale Limited, the company which own the buildings, also pleaded guilty for breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £144,000 and ordered to pay costs of £44,600.
Edward Fryer, HM Inspector of Health and Safety said,
“Work on fragile roofs is extremely hazardous and requires proper planning and oversight to ensure that safety precautions are considered and implemented.
In this case the client, Al Amin Wholesale Limited, did nothing to check that work on their roof would be carried out safely. As a consequence of this neglect Mafizur Rahman, who the company had tasked with arranging the roof work, acted in a way which made it almost inevitable that a fall would occur, there was simply nothing put in place to prevent it.
Businesses have a major influence on how work is carried out on their projects, they need to take an active interest at each stage of the work and provide sufficient time and resources. Their decisions and approach have a significant impact on the health, safety and welfare of their projects. This tragedy was entirely preventable. ”