Owner of building firm jailed due to workplace safety negligence
A jail sentence has been handed down to the owner of a building company following the death of a worker while working on a house extension.
Slawomir Swiatek, 49, pleaded guilty to the failure to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act 1974. He also entered a guilty plea for the manslaughter of his employee, Grzegorz Wrezel, 41. At Kingston Crown Court in June this year, Swiatek was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment. He was also banned from being a director of a company for seven years.
In 2016, Earnest Builders Ltd had been working on the addition of an extension to a home in Worcester Park, South London. Wrezel, along with one of the other employees of the building company, was digging a trench so that the foundations of the extension could be laid, after being told by Swiatek that they should dig it alongside an existing wall. In February 2016, the wall collapsed onto Wrezel, who was in the trench at the time. Although the worker was taken to hospital, he later died of his injuries when medical experts advised that life support should be withdrawn.
The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the police found that the employer had failed to recognise his health and safety obligations towards his employees. No PPE had been provided to workers on the site, which included the use of hard hats, and Swiatek was also operating without insurance.