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Contractor Jailed after Worker is Crushed to Death

A self-employed contractor has been prosecuted following the death of an employee at Longstone Farm, in Pembrokeshire.

Incident

In 2012, William Ryan Evans was contracted to create a drainage field which involved laying infiltration pipes at the bottom of deep trenches. Evans hired two workers and a subcontractor excavator to carry out the work, one of which was 54 year old Hywel Glyndwr Richards.

A clump of soil fell into the trench as it was being dug, and Richards entered the trench to remove it. As he did so, the trench collapsed and buried him – Richards died at the scene.

Sentencing

At Swansea Crown Court this week, William Ryan Evans, of Blaenwaun Twr, Trelech, Carmarthenshire, was found guilty of breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The contractor was handed a six month custodial sentence.

Phil Nicolle, HSE Inspector, said:

“This tragic incident could have been prevented by undertaking a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks, providing the correct equipment or safe working methods to the workers and managing and monitoring the work to ensure it was done safely.

“Work in excavations needs to be properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure no one enters an excavation deeper than 1.2m without adequate controls in place to prevent a collapse.”

Hywel Richards’ family said following the hearing:

“Dad was an integral part of our family, the glue that kept us all together. Our family was devastated by his sudden death. We have wondered so many times why this has happened to us, we were meant to grow up with Dad as our guide; the man we looked up to and loved so much.

“Family gatherings and celebrations, once joyous occasions, are now ruined because dad is not there. Today, and for the rest of our lives, we are mourning the loss of dad, our best friend, our confidant and protector. Quite simply, he has left a space that will never be filled. We hope that lessons will be learned from dad’s death.”

Accident at work – expert advice

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Source: Health & Safety

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