The court heard how the site manager and the commercial director were aware of the dangerous state of the excavation but took no steps to ensure it was safe. The safety advisor, who was contracted from a consultancy company, was also aware of the risks, as he was responsible for drafting a safety method statement.

The safety method statement was found to be inadequate and was not followed. Even though the adviser had the authority to stop dangerous works, he failed to do so. The advisor was jailed for nine months while the director received a three years and three months sentence.

Detective chief inspector Tim Duffield, who headed up the case, said, “There was overwhelming evidence that [these men’s] failure to carry out their respective roles directly resulted in the death. In this case the danger of collapse was not only foreseeable, it had been specifically identified by [the safety advisor] in his risk assessments.”

This case highlights the need not only to ensure comprehensive and adequate method statements are in place, but also to ensure that risk assessments identify control measures that are then enforced. It’s a sobering reminder that safety advisors are not immune from prosecution.

If you require help or advice on how to complete a risk assessment or method statement email us at [email protected] with your query or call us on 0207 469 0200.

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