Prison sentence for Director after employee is killed using dangerous machinery

Published: 22 May 2019

In recent prosecution news, it has been reported that the director of a Skip Hire company in Norfolk has been jailed for one year, following the death of an employee. This case highlights how a cost cutting exercise resulted in the unnecessary loss of life which could have easily been avoided.

Robert Baldwin is to serve 12 months behind bars after his employee James Criddle died when his clothing became trapped in a second-hand waste screening machine that had no external stop button.

Robert Baldwin, managing director of Baldwin Skip Hire, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court after earlier being found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act over the death of his employee James Criddle.

Father-of-one James Criddle, 29, was operating a screener machine at Baldwin Skip Hire in Besthorpe, Norfolk, in May 2017 when he became entangled.

The machine was bought second hand by defendant Robert Baldwin, 48, with no safety guards or external stop button.

Julia Faure Walker, prosecuting, said: "It was bought second-hand on eBay... The guards had been removed. The workers were not protected from the dangerous working parts". It has been reported that the machine was purchased for £17,000 rather than buying a new one for £50,000.

Baldwin Skip Hire, pleaded guilty to another health and safety charge of an employer breaching a general duty to an employee and was fined £75,000.

Poor equipment sourcing, maintenance and inadequate H&S practices can have dire consequences for your business.

With the Sentencing Guidance is now embedded into Health and Safety it must be stressed that whilst actual harm may not have occurred, the offence lies in not managing the risk

A large number of sites have sorting, crushing or dangerous equipment and it is very important to ensure their safe use.

For all dangerous equipment at site please ensure the following:

  • Ensure that all equipment purchased meet the required British Standards
  • All dangerous equipment is named on a dangerous equipment log
  • The equipment is risk assessed and all control measures are followed, including producing a safe system of work for using and maintaining the machine
  • The equipment has onsite visual checks carried out to ensure it is in good condition with all safeguards fitted, and free from defects. The term ‘safeguarding’ includes guards, interlocks, two-hand controls, light guards, pressure-sensitive mats etc.
  • The equipment is serviced by an external company (how often depends on the equipment/servicing contract)
  • Staff are trained in the use of the equipment and only trained staff operate equipment
  • PPE purchased must meet the new regulations with staff to also be trained its use

A link to the new PPE requirements have been added below:

CSC can help you with your risk assessments and on-going compliance checks. Avoid unnecessary accidents and contact us to discuss how we can help you.