Jailed for ignoring site safety

A man has been sent to jail after an immigrant labourer was killed in a fall on his building site. The Shafi family from Blackburn was converting an old mill in the town but its corner cutting had fatal consequence.

Tameem Shafi was in charge of the job; he is now in jail. His father Mohammed Shafi Karbhari, who owns the building, was given a suspended sentence.

The Health & Safety Executive prosecuted after investigating the death of Ivars Bahmanis, a 55 year old Lithuanian national living and working in Blackburn. He was killed after falling nearly eight metres while working on the building in Manner Sutton Street. During its investigation the HSE discovered that another employee, Juris Lesinkis, a Latvian national living and working in Blackburn had fallen from a height and broken his leg at the same site but this accident was never reported to the HSE.

At the sentencing hearing on the 19th May, Preston Crown Court heard that Mr Bahmanis was installing metal brackets for new roof joists when the incident happened on the 29th January 2012. While he was working alone he fell from the wall, due to a lack of safety measures being in place.

The HSE found that the defendants had failed to plan the work at height or employ competent contractors. They had deliberately chosen to save money and knew that work was being carried out in an unsafe manner using unskilled workers.

Tameem Shafi, 31, of Clarence Street, Blackburn, who was in charge of the project, was sent to prison for 45 weeks for two breaches of regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height regulations 2005.

Mohammed Shafi Karbhari, 59, also of Clarence Street, Blackburn, and the owner of the mill, was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay £20,000 towards prosecution costs for breach of regulation 9 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

Umar Shafi, 20, of Clarence Street, Blackburn, who was in charge of the work on the day, was sentenced to 120 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £3,900 towards prosecution costs for two breaches of regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Following the case HSE inspector Allen Shute said: “The defendants tried to save money by asking unskilled workers to carry out hazardous work activities around the building. As a result Mr Bahmanis died needlessly in a horrifying incident which could and should have been prevented. There had also been a previous incident on site where another worker fell from height and broke his leg, which was never reported to HSE and only came out during the investigation. This should have served as a warning to them.”