The coming weeks and months will see us track a court case where a training provider will stand alongside an employer and his supervisor, charged over the death of 16 yr old apprentice. Nothing we will say, nothing that happens in court and no outcome will bring the boy back!
He is not the first apprentice or learner to die in the workplace and won’t be the last. What he is is the first one for many a year that will get providers thinking ‘what if’.
If you are a Director, Chairman, Principal or Chief Executive ask yourself ‘ What if I was the person who was sitting in the office when the court bailiff appeared summonsing me immediately to appear at the magistrates court because I chose not to attend. Despite being investigated by the police and HSE?
Consider ‘What if I was now preparing for a ‘plea hearing’ in March and all my time and resources were being channeled to meeting with solicitors and legal representatives, and dealing with the effect of it all, possibly permanently on my business and those who rely on us for their livelihood.
‘What if I’m found guilty in crown court of a criminal charge under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (the current probable charge).
‘What if I’d taken time to make sure that our systems and procedures met the requirements laid down for me by law, guidance and best practice, and what if I’d made sure that our systems and people were competent for use.
We have to balance the scenarios above, as accurate as they are at the time of writing, with the knowledge that the legal process has to take it’s natural course, and the charges, the plea and the planned crown court case may change. Innocent till proven guilty and so on!
But we do have to remember that whatever the eventual outcome the learner has still died, his family and friends are still suffering, the provider is still charged, the employer has gone out of business (charged under corporate manslaughter legislation by the way) and the provider probably has not funded another apprentice since.
So consider ‘what if I take a little time and consider the implications of this case for my business and my undertakings and what if they are not as good and appropriate as I think they are?’ and consider also ‘what if it was us’.
DTD Training Ltd is a company committed to supporting employers and providers with solutions to support a positive and competent approach to delivery of effective health and safety procedures in all aspects of your work. Contact us on 07790534233 or visit www.dtdtraining.co.uk
Tudor Williams CMIOSH