Dorset business owner to pay compensation for death at workThursday, June 14th, 2012
A Crown Court judge has ordered a business owner to pay compensation to the family of one his employees who was killed in an accident at work.
Alaister Copland was ordered to pay compensation and a fine after the death of Stephen Ford, one of his employees.
Dorchester Crown Court judge Roger Jarvis told Copland that he would have gone to prison had the incident happened a few months later, when new legislation had come into force.
Mr Ford, 50, died when he and his son Jamie Ford were working on a barn as part of their employment by Copland’s company Do It Al.
Debris fell on Mr Ford, killing him.
Ian Dixey, prosecuting, said neither man was given protective clothing, nor were they were covered by insurance policies when Mr Ford died.
He said: “A ladder had been placed on a pile of rubble and Stephen and Jamie pulled the cob wall down into the space they were in.
“Jamie was using a hammer drill and Stephen was clearing rubble from the ground. A large piece of cob about a foot square came away from the wall and fell straight down.
“Jamie saw his father lying on the rubble on his back with blood coming from his nose, mouth and ears and saw there was a depression in his head where he had been struck.”
In court it transpired Copland’s son was also put at risk when he demolished the roof of the same barn without scaffolding.
Mr Gabb, mitigating for Copland, said he had no wish to cut corners, and had debts and limited income.
Copland pleaded guilty to failing to discharge his duties under Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety Act 1974.
Judge Jarvis said: “The execution of the work was lamentable. It’s unsurprising that an incident occurred and it’s a tragedy that Stephen Ford lost his life because of it. Not even any hard hats were available and the presence of a hard hat on Stephen Ford may have resulted in an entirely different result from the one that unfolded. An unsatisfactory and inadequate system was put in place to reduce your costs and maximise profit.”
The Health and Safety Executive’s Helena Tinton said: “This is a tragic case which clearly demonstrates the dangers of carrying out demolition work without suitable planning.”
Copland paid £10,000 in fines, and £2390 in compensation.