A car park owner has been jailed after ignoring safety issues on the land he owned.
An inspection by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a steep valley edge with no barriers to prevent a fall up to 30 metres onto houses below. A Prohibition Notice was issued to prevent cars or pedestrians from coming within five metres of the edge.
The notice was ignored by the owner and on 6 August 2009 the houses below had to be evacuated while emergency services removed a car which had been found hanging over the edge.
He pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3 (2) and 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was given a nine month custodial sentence.
Speaking after the hearing, the HSE said: “As the incident in August 2009 showed, there was a very real risk of a car going over the edge of the land which could have had very serious consequences, not only for the driver but also for residents and members of the public passing below. By simply installing a barrier, as he was requested to do, he would have significantly reduced this risk. “Employers who ignore these notices, and continue to put people at risk, should expect to be prosecuted.”
The HSE will serve a Prohibition Notice where there is a clear, immediate risk of death or injury to employees or members of the public.
It is an offence under section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to contravene any requirement or prohibition imposed by an improvement notice or a prohibition notice.
While imprisonment may seem a fairly drastic measure for contravening health and safety laws, the law is there to protect employees and the public and the consequences of breaches could prove to be catastrophic.
Land owners are under a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of visitors to their premises under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident, Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP specialise in Occupiers Liability Law and can advise you.