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Company owner jailed after a 16-year-old apprentice was killed in his factory

Earlier this month, Huntley Mount Engineering Ltd was fined £150,000 after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter and failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees following the death of a 16-year-old apprentice, Cameron Minshull. The teenager sustained fatal injuries to his head and face after he became entangled in an industrial machine, just weeks into his new job. 

Without meaningful training and supervision, Cameron was operating a Computerised Numeric Lathe and was instructed to clean the lathes that was used to cut and make steel components, with emery paper while the machinery was still running. He was simply warned to roll up his sleeves when carrying out task. Whilst cleaning the lathe in his oversized overalls, which had been provided by the company and which did not fit him properly, he got caught in the machinery, with parts revolving at up to 2,800 times a minute.  

Zaffar Hussain, the owner of the company was also sentenced to eight months in prison and disqualified from working as a company director for 10 years after admitting neglect under health and safety laws. His son, Akbar Hussain, a supervisor the company was also convicted.

Cameron’s apprenticeship was funded by the Government’s Skills Training Agency, and he was placed by recruitment agency Lime People Training Solutions. The recruitment agency also failed to comply with health and safety requirements; if they did, they would have realised that the company was a wholly unsuitable placement for any apprentice, let alone a boy of 16 years, operating a system of work that was grossly unsafe. Hence, the agency were also found guilty and was fined £75,000. 

Conclusion

This tragedy serves a chilling reminder of the dangers of placing apprentices in potentially dangerous environments. The risks were obvious and the death was preventable has the company simply adhered to health and safety legislation. 

If you are a business that has any concerns about managing the safety of your employees or the placement of young people please do not hesitate to us on 0113 3504030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.


Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here 

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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