Company directors jailed and fined for manslaughter following the death of a worker

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The death of a worker after falling through a warehouse roof has seen three company directors jailed and fined for health and safety breaches

A court case has seen three company directors jailed and fined for the death of a worker. The case, which was brought before Chelmsford Crown Court, revealed the incident that led to 63-year-old Nikolai Valkov falling through the roof of a warehouse in 2015.

According to the evidence presented at the court proceedings, Valkov was working on the roof and fell to his death after stepping onto a discoloured skylight.

The case was brought against Koseoglu Metal Works and Ozdil Investments Ltd. The latter was the owner of the warehouse and had sought repairs for the roof. However, caution had been given from both the Health and Safety Executive and Harlow District Council about the dangers of the work and the need for correct safety measures.

Despite this warning, Ozdil Investments Ltd’s directors Firat Ozdil and Ozgur Ozdil paid Koseoglu Metalworks Ltd to carry out the work. Kadir Kose, director of the firm, did so without netting or safety measures in place.

Furthermore, Koseoglu Metalworks Ltd had no experience of undertaking roofing work and charged the Ozdils around £100,000 less than a roofing contractor would have charged. The case revealed the workers undertaking the repairs had no training to do so and Kose failed to conduct a risk assessment for the work.

Breaching health and safety

The three directors were charged with health and safety offences. Koseoglu Metalworks Ltd, the firm that carried out the repairs, admitted to corporate manslaughter. The firm was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £21,236 in costs. Kose also admitted to breaching health and safety laws and received an eight month jail term.

Ozdil Investments denied the charge of corporate manslaughter and breaching health and safety regulations. The court found the firm guilty and levied fines of £660,000 plus costs of £53,115.34. The two company directors were convicted of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. Firat Ozdil was jailed for a year, while Ozgur Ozdil received a 10 month jail term.

Risked lives to save money

Luke Bulpitt, from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “By ignoring the safety measures they knew were required, the Odzils and their company risked the lives of everyone working on the roof in an attempt to save money.

“Kadir Kose and Koseoglu Metalworks undertook the work to the roof without taking any appropriate safety steps, gambling with the lives of their employees.

“Faced with the evidence against him, Kose and Koseoglu Metalworks admitted their guilt but the Ozdils and their company contested the charges. However, having heard the compelling case put forward by the prosecution, the jury returned guilty verdicts.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Valkov.”

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