The director of a construction firm has been jailed after an employee suffered life-threatening burns from a “fireball” while at work
David Stead was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for failing to ensure the safety of a worker whose arms and legs were severely burned, Cardiff Crown Court heard.
The young employee was told to stand atop a skip containing burning waste, and pour a drum of inflammable thinners onto the blaze.
The chemicals ignited and resulted in the “fireball”, which blew the worker from the skip and left him with the severe burns, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found.
The court heard how Mr Stead, of Mildred Street, Beddau, had committed serious health and safety breaches that resulted in the serious incident on the construction site.
The building boss had failed to ensure that the waste was disposed of safely and responsibly, and had also failed to inform the HSE that the incident had taken place, which is a legal requirement.
The court also heard that Mr Stead did not administer any first aid to his employee, despite the obvious need for medical attention. Nor did he send the injured worker to the hospital.
Pleading guilty to safety breaches
David Gordon Stead pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and to breaching Section 4 (1) of The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
He has been sentenced to 32 weeks imprisonment and will serve half the sentence on release under licence.
The court also disqualified Mr Stead from being a company director for a minimum of seven years.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Adele Davies said: “David Stead failed his employees. His actions could have resulted in the death of this worker. The young man suffered unnecessary life-threatening injuries due to poor working standards.
“We hope this sentence sends out a message that directors of businesses must take their health and safety responsibilities seriously.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 16, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown