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Senior business managers from Nottinghamshire have been jailed after a food waste recycling company was convicted of the corporate manslaughter of two employees. Nathan Walker, 19, and Gavin Rawson, 35, died on December 22 2016 after falling into a tanker of semi-liquid pig feed, and both families have paid tribute to them.
The incident happened at Greenfeeds Ltd in Normanton, Bottesford, Leicestershire. The company produced bio-fuel and pig feed from recycled products which were then delivered using road haulage tankers.
It was owned and ran by the Leivers family including Ian Leivers and his wife Gillian Leivers. The firm was fined £2million and is now in liquidation after being convicted of the charges on June 7 after a six-week trial at Leicestershire Crown Court.
A sentence hearing took place at the same court on Thursday (June 16). Greenfeeds Ltd was fined a total of £2million after being found guilty of two counts of corporate manslaughter.
The company had previously pleaded guilty to failing to discharge a duty under sections 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 in that Greenfeeds Ltd being an employer within the meaning of the Act failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees.
Gillian Leivers, 60, of Fosse Road, Newark, was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison after being found guilty of two counts of gross negligence manslaughter. Gillian Leivers was also found guilty of a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 by virtue of section 37(1) in that the offence by the company was committed with her consent, connivance or attributable to her neglect. Gillian Leivers was also disqualified for being a company director for a period of 15 years.
Ian Leivers, 59, of Fosse Road, Newark, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment after being found guilty, as a director of Greenfeeds Ltd, with a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by virtue of section 37(1) in that the offence by the company was committed with his consent, connivance or attributable to his neglect. Ian Leivers was also disqualified from being a company director for a period of 10 years.
The company’s transport manager, Stewart Brown, 69, of Forest Road, Mansfield, was sentenced to one year imprisonment suspended for two years after being found guilty under section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 in that being an employee at work, he failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others, who might be affected by his acts or omissions at work. Brown had also been charged with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter. He was found not guilty of these two counts following the trial.
Following the conviction last week, officer in the case, Detective Constable Kirsty Iqbal, said: “Nathan Walker and Gavin Rawson were two young men who had their whole lives ahead of them. Both men went to work on the day of December 22 2016 at Greenfeeds Ltd where they should have been looked after and their safety should have been paramount.
“Instead investigations showed that the system which was used to clean out the tankers at Greenfeeds Ltd was so fundamentally dangerous that fatal consequences were virtually certain. Mr Walker and Mr Rawson had their futures taken away from them simply because the firm did not have the correct safety procedures and equipment in place.
“Their deaths should never have been allowed to happen. My thoughts remain with the families of Mr Walker and Mr Rawson at this time.
“The families have suffered unimaginable pain and I thank them for their patience, support and co-operation with us to allow us to fully investigate. My thanks also go to the initial response team and those who have assisted us at court as well as the Crown Prosecution Service for their dedicated work during a difficult and complex investigation.”
On the afternoon of December 22 2016, Mr Walker, who was a member of yard staff at the company, had climbed into a tanker to clean it after it was found the tanker could not be fully emptied of the pig feed. But he got into difficulty and the alarm was raised leading to Mr Rawson, who was also a member of yard staff, climbing into the tanker in an attempt to rescue Mr Walker.
Both men were pulled from the tanker after a saw was used to cut holes in the side of the tanker. Emergency services were at the scene and resuscitation was attempted but both men sadly died.
A post-mortem examination concluded Mr Walker and Mr Rawson had died as a result of drowning in the animal feed. The forensic pathologist found it was most likely the men had been overcome by either toxic product from the animal feed and/or a lack of oxygen which had caused them to lose consciousness and fall into the feed.
A subsequent investigation carried out by Leicestershire Police and the Health and Safety Executive found that at the time of Mr Walker and Mr Rawson’s deaths, their employer company Greenfeeds Ltd had no adequate health and safety procedures in place to govern the cleaning of their tankers. A method of cleaning the tankers which involved an employee entering the tanker with a power washer while another acted as a spotter and held the hose pipe connected to the power wash had been allowed to develop at the company and had been used on many occasions.
The cleaning method had no proper risk assessment in place. There was no method statement for entering the tanker or for getting someone out of the tanker and no provision of breathing apparatus or personal protection equipment for the employee entering the tanker.
Enquiries carried out during the investigation also found that staff at the company had previously expressed concerns regarding the dangerousness of the cleaning method but these concerns had been ignored. There was also no named health and safety officer at the company.
The investigation led to the charges being brought against the company Greenfeeds Ltd as well as against Ian Leivers who worked as the managing director of the company, Gillian Leviers who worked as the office and accounts manager and oversaw the day-to-day running of the site and Stewart Brown who was transport manager and in charge of the yard.
Written by: thehitnetwork
There are qualifying criteria