UK firm convicted of corporate manslaughter after workers drown in liquid feed tanker

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/bluekite
© GettyImages/bluekite

Related tags: Liquid feed, convictions, waste recycling, corporate manslaughter, health and safety

Sentencing is due this week in the case whereby a UK food waste recycling company was convicted of corporate manslaughter following the death of two employees.

The workers drowned after falling into a road haulage tanker containing semi-liquid pig feed.

Nathan Walker, 19, and Gavin Rawson, 35, died in December 2016 following the incident at Greenfeeds Ltd in Normanton, Bottesford, Leicestershire. The company, which was owned and ran by the Leivers family including Ian Leivers and his wife Gillian Leivers, produced biofuel and pig feed from recycled products, which were then delivered using road haulage tankers.

According a report by Leicestershire Police, on the afternoon of December 22, 2016, Nathan Walker, who was a member of yard staff at the company, had climbed into a tanker to clean it after it was found the tanker could not be fully emptied of the pig feed. But he got into difficulty. The alarm was raised leading to Gavin Rawson, who was also a member of yard staff, climbing into the tanker in an attempt to rescue his colleague.

Both men were pulled from the tanker after a saw was used to cut holes in the side of the tanker. Emergency services were at the scene and resuscitation was attempted but both men died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination concluded the two men had died due to drowning in the animal feed. The forensic pathologist found it was most likely the men had been overcome by either toxic product from the feed and/or a lack of oxygen, which had caused them to lose consciousness and fall into the feed.

A subsequent investigation carried out by Leicestershire Police and the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) alleged that, at the time of the fatalities, Greenfeeds Ltd had no adequate health and safety procedures in place to govern the cleaning of their tankers.

That investigation led to charges being brought against the company Greenfeeds Ltd as well as against Ian Leivers who worked as the managing director of the company, Gillian Leviers, who oversaw the day-to-day running of the site and Stewart Brown, who was transport manager and in charge of the yard.

Convictions

Following a six-week trial at Leicester Crown Court, Greenfeeds Ltd was found guilty of two counts of corporate manslaughter.  

Ian Leivers, 59, of Fosse Road, Newark, was found guilty, as a director of Greenfeeds Ltd, with a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by virtue of section 37(1) in that the offence by the company was committed with his consent, connivance or attributable to his neglect.

Gillian Leivers, 60, of Fosse Road, Newark, was found guilty of two counts of gross negligence manslaughter. Gillian Leivers was also found guilty of a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 by virtue of section 37(1) in that the offence by the company was committed with her consent, connivance or attributable to her neglect.

Stewart Brown, 69, of Forest Road, Mansfield, was found guilty under section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 in that being an employee at work, he failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others, who might be affected by his acts or omissions at work. Brown had also been charged with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter. He was found not guilty of these two counts.

The three were released on bail. Sentencing will take place this Thursday, June 16.

Related topics: Regulation

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