Health and Safety Management

‘Badguys Construction’ is a construction firm based in Cardiff. It has over 100 employees, most are construction workers but some are office based. The case study involves the following employees- Mick; Jonny and Pat, who have been sent to do physical work on a site where they have never worked before.
The site – 3 five storey new apartments are being constructed. The first phase is complete. The foundations are set and building works up to the first floor recently completed. Scaffolding is in place around two of the three apartments so that construction can continue at higher levels.
Mick is assigned the task of cleaning debris from under and around the scaffolding. 
Jonny must use short stepladders to pass blocks up to bricklayers who are using stable ladders, on the building site where scaffolding has not yet been provided.
Pat is ordered to use a syringe to inject high strength weed killer into the stems of Japanese Knotweed to kill the weed and must fill the syringes in a small enclosed outbuilding containing large jacks of the weed killer. The construction firm has a legitimate licence to apply the weed killer but Pat has received no training in its use.

Case Facts
Workers working on scaffolding have taken an instant dislike to the new guy Mick, so as Mick starts to clear beneath the scaffolding the workers start throwing small food cartons and other waste including a drink can at him. Mick tries to find the site manager to make a complaint and ask for a hard hat, but he can’t find anyone to make a report. Mick overheard a worker speaking to a member of management, possibly the site manager, on a mobile phone and in the course of conversation, making fun of Mick. Mick ignores this and returns to his work, slips over the drink can and whilst rubbing his slightly injured elbow is hit on the head [and is knocked unconscious] by a smart phone which has fallen out of the pocket of a worker 4 metres above where Mick was laying. Pat runs to Mick’s aid and calls paramedics who take Mick to hospital. Mick remains in hospital for three days and has lost his job for failing to turn up to work.
Jonny is getting on well with the workers on the ladders. He is not happy that he has to use step ladders to raise the blocks up to them but the work was quite enjoyable and Jonny, initially showing off, decides to lift three blocks in one go rather than the worker’s recommendation of one at a time. The workers’ are grateful to Jonny because the job is progressing more quickly so he continues to lift three blocks throughout the morning. As he lifts yet another set of three blocks up, he falls off the step ladder in great pain as he has twisted his back muscles. Paramedics are called to the scene and Jonny is taken to hospital where he is released later in the day with orders not to work for at least six weeks. As a result, Jonny loses his job.
From a distance Pat can see how well Jonny is getting along with the workers. Pat feels a little isolated working on his own. Pat injects half a dozen large knotweed stems with weed killer. He then enters the outbuilding to refill the injection needles but before he could get on with this task he witnesses the incident with Mick and dashes to his aid leaving the large jack of weed killer open on the table and Pat wisely closed the door to stop anyone entering the outbuilding. The jack is covered with warnings. One warning states that the weed killer must not once opened, be kept in an enclosed environment.  
After Mick is removed from site Pat returns to his task, sits in the outbuilding with the door closed behind him breathing in the fumes from the weed killer. He had not been provided with any personal protective equipment. No one knew he was in the outbuilding alone and no one noticed when he failed to emerge from the building. Sadly, Pat was found the next day having apparently died on swallowing his own vomit.

With reference to the case facts given above, legal requirements and relevant case law-
Introduction (Guide approx. 100-150 words)
Max Mark awarded = 5%

  1. Without any reference to Manual Handling Regulations 1992 (as amended) in the case of Mick- examine the criminal legal implications which apply to the case facts and consider whether or not you think the enforcement officer/s will take any action. Your answer should include likely offences, enforcement action, potential penalties and courts/ tribunals which might be involved. Also, state if there is a legitimate defence in criminal law which might be validly applied. 
    (Guide- approx. 500 words) 
    Max mark awarded = 25%
  2. Briefly consider in criminal law the application of the Manual Handling Regulations 1992 and state potential offences, penalties, enforcement action etc. which could apply to Jonny’s case under the 1992 Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
    (Guide- approx. 300 words)
    Max mark awarded = 10%

Apply the civil law responsibilities of the employer to Jonny’s case and advise Jonny whether or not it is worth pursuing a civil claim against the company. Your answer should include a brief and relevant explanation of the civil law of tort, your considered opinion on the court in which the claim, if pursued, might first be heard, and relevant defences to such a claim.
(Guide approx -500 words) Max. mark awarded = 25%

  1. In the case of Pat- 
    Examine the criminal law breaches relating to Pat’s death and consider whether or not a prosecution of the firm might proceed along with any other breaches of Health and Safety Laws.