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Site manager jailed over trench collapse death

Gavel legal law justice

A construction manager has been sentenced to four years in prison after an employee was crushed to death when a trench collapsed.

Andrew Winterton was jailed for manslaughter through gross negligence at Northampton Crown Court following the death of Shane Wilkinson on 30 June 2017. In September 2014 Wilkinson was crushed when the walls of a deep trench being excavated collapsed while he was standing on the edge of the trench.

Winterton was in charge of health and safety at the Collyweston site, which was being developed by his company, Conquest Homes. Winterton was found to have caused a corporate body to commit an offence and had failed in his health and safety responsibilities, while Conquest Homes was fined £55,000.

A second worker, Dean Wortley, who was responsible for excavating the trench, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for health and safety offences. During the trial the court heard how Wortley had not taken adequate preparation or safety measures before digging the drainage trench.

“Winterton supervised a building site which was badly run, with poorly-trained workers and he had scant regard for health and safety. Wortley excavated a trench without any professional safety measures. It should have been obvious to both of them that it was highly dangerous,” said Crown Prosecution Service specialist prosecutor Fiona Morrison.

“The construction industry should be in no doubt that health and safety failures of this magnitude are extremely serious criminal offences, for which managers can be held personally liable.”

Conquest Homes declined to comment.

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