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Building firm and its owner sentenced for corporate manslaughter
Subject: Health and safety at work
Source: Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Following the death in 2011 of a man as a result of falling through a roof, a building firm has been fined at Preston Crown Court £220,000 for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offence. The owner of the firm was sentenced for the same offences to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours unpaid work.

Peter Mawson Ltd pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of employees. Peter Mawson, the owner of the firm, also pleaded guilty to a breach of the same offences. In addition to the suspended prison sentence and unpaid work, he was made subject to a publicity order to advertise what happened on the company website for a set period of time, and to take out a half page spread in the local newspaper; and pay costs of £31,504.77.

On 25 October 2011, emergency services attended West Cumberland Farmers Ltd. at Lindal, Ulverston, following a report that a man had fallen through a roof. The man, 42 year old Jason Pennington, had been working on the roof and had fallen through the skylight from a height of approximately 7.6 meters onto a concrete floor. He was taken to Furness General Hospital where he died a short time later.

The HSE investigating inspector said that Mr Pennington tragically lost his life because the company that employed him did nothing to make sure he was safe while he worked on a fragile roof. He added that Peter Mawson knew the clear panels on the roof were not safe to walk on but neither he nor his company provided any equipment to prevent workers falling to their death. If scaffolding or netting had been fitted under the fragile panels, or covers had been fitted over them, then Mr Pennington would still be here today.


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