Bosses jailed over fatality cover-up…

Employee “sent to collect harnesses to make it look like accident was dead man’s fault”.

Three company bosses have been jailed following the death of 25-year-old father of one, Benjamin Edge, who fell from a roof he was working on, without safety equipment and in windy conditions.

Following the incident safety failings were covered up, a new risk assessment was written and an employee was “sent home to collect harnesses to make it look like the accident was Edge’s fault, because he had not worn safety equipment” it was reported.

On 10 December 2014, Edge, fell from the roof of a metal structure he was helping to dismantle in Ramsbottom, Bury. He died hours later at Salford Royal Hospital, after suffering catastrophic head injuries. At the time of the fall, he was working for SR and RJ Brown and was working on a site run by Marshalls Mono.

A joint investigation by the Greater Manchester Police alongside the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looked into the circumstances surrounding Edge’s death.

It was heard in court how MA Excavations Ltd, contracted out the work to brothers Christopher and Robert ‘James’ Brown, directors at SR and RJ Brown Limited.

Mark Aspin, director at MA Excavations Ltd said he believed the Browns were ‘competent’ and could complete the job safely, but the court heard he did not check their qualifications.

Manchester Evening News reported that Robert ‘James’ Brown composed a ‘grossly inadequate’ risk assessment before the job which he did not show to anyone. After the accident, he then typed up another risk assessment, which should have been done beforehand.

Peter Heap, 34, who had been working alongside Edge was asked by Christopher Brown, 25, to go home and collect harnesses to make it look like the accident was Edge’s fault, because he had not worn safety equipment.

SR and RJ Brown Limited, of which brothers Christopher and Robert Brown are directors, was fined £300,000 at Manchester Crown Court after admitting corporate manslaughter.

Christopher Brown and Robert Brown pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and two counts of health and safety breaches. They were jailed for 20 months. A count of manslaughter for the brothers is to lie on file.

Mark Aspin, 37, was sentenced to a year in jail after admitting health and safety offences. MA Excavations Ltd, of Garden Street, Ramsbottom, which contracted out the work – was fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety breaches.

Employee Peter Heap, 34, was spared jail after he followed orders to bring safety harnesses to the site after his colleague had fallen to try to conceal what had happened. His four-month sentence for perverting the course of justice, which he had admitted, was suspended for two years.

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