Balcony deaths: MD Jailed for 14 months

Published: 11 Jul 2017

Since February 2016, the implementation of the Sentencing Guidelines has seen a marked increase in fines and prison terms with directors of companies facing significant penalties. In most cases the basic fundamentals of meeting minimum health and safety requirements are often not being met.

This point has again been highlighted in the latest prosecution involving fatalities while working at heights.

A construction company boss has been sent to jail for 14 months following the death of two employees after a fall from a balcony in London’s Cadogan Square.

Martin Gutaj, of Ferry Lane, Brentford, was convicted after he failed to undertake an adequate risk assessment and offer training to two construction workers who fell to their deaths trying to lift a sofa over balcony railings and through an upper floor window.

Gutaj and his company, Martinisation London, were found guilty of safety breaches at a trial in May, and were sentenced at the Old Bailey on 7 July.  The company was fined £2.4m (£1.2m for each death) and £650,000 for breaches of Health and Safety Regulations. The court also heard how advice from an experienced and reputable lifting company on how to carry out the process safely was ignored due to time and budgetary constraints.

These fatalities could have been prevented if a few simple steps were put in place, such as suitable risk assessments, adequate training, safe systems of work and health and safety policy.

Are your health and safety policies up to date? Do you need help with your risk assessments to ensure you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of a prosecution case? CSC can help you, contact us today.