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Firm awaits sentence over work death
8:00am Thursday 24th April 2014 in News
THE family of a man killed on a building site will have to wait another fortnight to discover what sentence construction giant Costain will face.
A sentencing hearing was started at Reading Crown Court yesterday after Costain was convicted earlier this month, by a jury, of four breaches of health and safety regulations over the death of Mark Williams, from Nuneham Courtenay.
But Judge Angela Morris ran out of time to give her sentence and the case was put off until May 8.
Mr Williams, 41, was crushed in his telehandler – a telescopic, all-terrain forklift – which toppled over as he tried to manoeuvre it through an area at the £100m shopping centre development at Newbury Parkway.
Costain was responsible for ensuring health and safety as the overall site controller. Mr Williams’ direct employer, Attleys Roofing, was acquitted on all charges.
Deanna Heer, prosecuting, told the judge about a previous occasion on which Costain had been convicted over a worker’s death.
In 2012, the company was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay a further £45,000 in court costs after surveyor Richard Caddock, 38, was run over and killed by a reversing lorry at motorway-widening works on the M25.
Ms Heer stressed to the court: “We don’t suggest that this is a company where there was any deliberate cost-cutting at the expense of safety.”
Ms Heer said Mr Williams had been the main bread- winner for his partner Samantha Collins and his two young daughters, and that she had had to find part-time work and apply for state benefits for financial support since his death on June 20, 2011.
Keith Morton, representing Costain, said in mitigation: “It is a matter of utmost regret to the directors of Costain that anyone should lose their life while working on a Costain site. That is something this company strives to avoid.”
He said Costain was a leader in safety in the industry and had won awards for its approach.
He also told the judge that the incident arose because Mr Williams had been working in a “dangerous and unauthorised” way at the time he died and that was why the risk of overturning had materialised.
At the time Costain was not aware of the way that the telehandler was being manoeuvred around the site, he added.
Costain faces sentence for two counts of failure to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment; one count of failure to ensure health and safety and welfare of an employee at work, and one count of exposing others to a risk to health and safety.