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Three year old’s death – Wall Designer charged

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

A man who designed a wall which collapsed on a three year old girl, killing her, has been charged with gross negligence manslaughter. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided the designer of the wall, which was also constructed by his company, Parcol Development Ltd, should be charged in relation to the death of the little girl on 26/7/2008 in Prestatyn, Wales.

Parcol Developments Ltd, of which the charged man was a director, was also charged with an offence under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work at 1974 which requires all employers to conduct their business in a way that ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that others are not exposed to risk.

There are several types of insurance that may help pay defence costs if you or your company were to find itself in the difficult situation of facing prosecution. If necessary these could also help to compensate any victims. These include public liability insurance, product liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and directors and officers liability insurance.

In addition to the above policies providing indemnity to you for sums which you may be legally liable to pay as compensation, including claimant’s costs and expenses, some policies will also pay for legal costs and solicitor’s fees in defending a prosecution brought for breach of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Most of the policies will exclude any fines or penalties imposed.

From the design and build perspective of any project, quality control and safety are important concerns which should be addressed and documented at the planning stage. Having a proper risk management structure in place, in addition to a complete health and safety policy, may reduce the number of conditions which may lead to the cause of an unfortunate event (such as a faulty design leading to a wall collapse).


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