Managers at a recycling firm where a scrap metal worker was killed after suffering head injuries have admitted health and safety failures.
Stuart Towns, 35, died after being struck from above whilst working at the Alutrade Ltd site in Oldbury, on 24 July 2017. The company, Alutrade Limited, admitted corporate manslaughter.
Two company directors and the Health and Safety Manager – Malcolm George, 55, Kevin Pugh, 46, and Mark Redfern, 61 – admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the company’s employees at a hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court. They are due to be sentenced on 18 March.
Ben Southam, of the CPS Special Crime Division who charged the case, said: “The company had a legal duty to provide a safe system of work to protect their employees from this avoidable serious accident. The CPS case was that their failure to do so caused Stuart’s death.
“These convictions will not bring back Stuart Towns but I hope that they will do something to bring some closure to his family who have waited for this day for so long.”
In 2015 the company was visited by the HSE who sent a Notification of Contravention letter due to the absence of gates on a piece of recycling machinery.
The company installed gates to prevent employees from going under the machine. However, by June 2017 the gates were again damaged, and CCTV showed numerous employees, including Stuart, going underneath the machinery and also climbing in or on the machinery.
Senior managers were on notice of issues with the gates, either by being able to see the damaged gates or being informed that they were damaged. However, the machinery was neither isolated, nor were new gates installed.
This enabled staff to continue to go under the machinery whilst it was in operation. Sadly, Stuart did so on 24 July and was struck causing him fatal head injuries.
Managing director Malcolm George of Stock Green, Worcestershire, admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the company’s employees.
Production director Kevin Pugh of Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the company’s employees.
Health and safety manager Mark Redfern of Rowley Regis, West Midlands, admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the company’s employees.
Alutrade Limited admitted a charge of corporate manslaughter.
To prove Corporate Manslaughter, the CPS Special Crime Division has to show that the way in which the company’s 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.
CPS February 2022