Fines and Sentences Regarding Corporate Manslaughter Announced

The fines and sentences have been announced regarding the corporate manslaughter of an employee who died after falling through the roof of a building.

In October 2011, Jason Pennington (42), an employee at the building company Peter Mawson Ltd, was working to fix a leaky roof at the West Cumberland Farmers Depot in Cumbria. As Jason traversed the roof, he stepped onto a skylight. The glass broke, causing Jason to fall seven metres onto the concrete floor below him. The emergency services were notified, and Jason was immediately transported to the nearby Furness General Hospital. Unfortunately, he died a short time later due to his injuries.

An investigation into the fall was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It was found that no precautions were taken to ensure that the roof was safe to work on, or to prevent the fatal fall should the roof give way. As a result, the building company and its owner-Peter Mawson-were prosecuted for failing to ensure the safety of employees contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act, and for corporate manslaughter.

At the Preston Crown Court in December of that year, the defendants pled guilty to the allegations against them. In earlier this month, an announcement was made regarding the fines and sentences for the fatal fall from height accident. The building company was fined £200,000 for the corporate manslaughter offence, and a further £20,0000 for the breach of Health and Safety regulations.

Peter Mawson was sentenced to eight months in prison (suspended for two years), 200 hours unpaid work, and also told to pay costs of £31,504. He was further ordered to advertise what happened in the local newspaper, and on the company’s website.

The investigating inspector for the HSE, Chris Hatton, said:“Jason 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”.

“Peter Mawson knew the clear panels on the roof weren’t 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 Jason would still be here today.”