UK court finds company guilty of corporate manslaughter after employees died while cleaning out a tanker of semi-liquid pig feed
U.K. animal feed manufacturer Greenfeeds Ltd. has been found guilty of two counts of corporate manslaughter after two employees died at its facility in Normanton, Leicestershire, in December 2016.
According to reports, Nathan Walker, 19, climbed into a tanker of semi-liquid pig feed to clean it after he found it could not be fully emptied. When he “got into difficulty,” his co-worker, Gavin Rawson, 35, attempted to rescue him. They were removed from the tank after a saw was used to cut the tank open.
Emergency services were unable to resuscitate either man and they both died at the scene. A post-mortem report found they both died as a result of drowning after either being overcome by the toxic feed in the tanker or from a lack of oxygen.
Investigators said they found a series of health and safety failings on the part of the company and that the company had ignored previous concerns.
According to a report, investigations from the Leicestershire Police and the Health and Safety Executive found that Greenfeeds had no adequate health and safety measures in place to govern the cleaning of the tankers and that the company did not have a health and safety officer.
“Investigations showed that the system which was used to clean out the tankers at Greenfeeds Ltd. was so fundamentally dangerous that fatal consequences were virtually certain,” said Detective Constable Kirsty Iqbal of the Leicestershire Police. “Mr. Walker and Mr. Rawson had their futures taken away from them simply because the firm did not have the correct safety procedures and equipment in place.”
The company’s managing directors, Gillian and Ian Leivers, and manager Stewart Brown were convicted at Leicester Crown Court on June 7. Gillian Leivers was found guilty of two counts of gross negligence manslaughter. She and Ian Leivers were convicted of allowing Greenfeeds to commit the offense. Brown was found guilty of failing to ensure the health and safety of his co-workers. He was cleared of two counts of gross negligence manslaughter. The company had previously pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
Reports said Gillian Leivers and Brown instructed Walker and Rawson to clean the tanker.
The trial lasted six weeks. Sentencing is scheduled for June 16.