Manchester Crown Court has imposed a fine of £480,000 over the death of a worker who fell from a roof.

The prosecution arose out of the death of Steven Barry, a maintenance worker employed by Lion Steel who fell through a skylight whilst repairing a leak. The investigation found that Mr Barry had not been trained properly nor did he have the correct safety equipment to ensure against such a fall.

The case against Manchester based Lion Steel was the second prosecution in England and Wales under the Corporate Manslaughter Act and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The first prosecution, against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd in February 2011, saw a fine of £385,000 imposed.

The offence of Corporate Manslaughter under the Act came into force on the 6th April 2008. Section 1 states that:

An organisation to which this section applies is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised –

  • causes a person’s death; and
  • amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.

The offence of corporate manslaughter (and Corporate Homicide in Scotland), is not retrospective and therefore only applies to deaths occurring after the 6th April 2008.

Corporate Manslaughter can only be committed by an organisation and not individuals. However, individuals can still be prosecuted under Health Safety Laws and indeed when death occurs, there may likely be an overlapping of the two. To establish “gross breach’ it must be shown that the organisation’s conduct “falls far below what can be reasonably expected of the organisation in the circumstances’. The offence carries an unlimited fine.

Farleys Solicitors can help you to understand the rules and regulations governing Health and Safety in the workplace.  If you are being investigated then specialist advice should be sought immediately.

For initial advice on your case or for more information about corporate manslaughter defence, or indeed representation against any health and safety investigation, please contact us.