The co-owner of a food waste recycling company has been jailed and the company fined £2m after two employees drowned in a truckload of semi-liquid pig feed.
Nathan Walker, 19, died after climbing aboard an oil tanker and getting into trouble at Greenfeeds Ltd in Normanton, Leicestershire, on December 22, 2016 – 15 days before his first child, a son , born.
Yard worker Gavin Rawson, 35, lost his life after bravely jumping in to rescue the teenager ‘with no thought for his own safety’, Leicester Crown Court said.
Co-owner Gillian Leivers, 60, spent 13 years in prison while her husband, Ian Leivers, 59, was held for 20 months behind bars.
Gillian Leivers demonstrated a “high disregard for death” in charge of employees at the company, who had no safe working methods, no training, no risk assessment and no associated records. regarding the cleaning of the inside of its tankers. .
The workers expressed concern about the potential dangers but were ignored.
The company – which makes biofuels and pig feed from recycled materials but is now being liquidated – was found guilty of corporate manslaughter following a six-week trial in court.
Gillian Leivers, from Newark, Northamptonshire, was also found guilty of separate health and safety violations and banned from serving as a company director for 15 years during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.
‘Obviously the yard staff hates cleaning up the tanker’s internals’
After finishing her sentence, Mr Justice Fraser told her: “Her negligent behavior has been continued and repeated for a long time.
“Clearly the yard staff hates the internal cleaning of tankers, and have complained to you about this, including asking for breathing apparatus not to be provided.
“You are simply ignoring these issues. You have shown blatant disregard for the very high risk of death due to your negligent conduct. I also assume that your behavior is motivated by your negligence. pushed by avoiding the cost of taking appropriate safety measures.”
Both men were pulled from the tanker after a saw was used to cut holes in the sides but they died at the scene of the tragedy.
Autopsies concluded they died after drowning in fodder, due to toxic fumes and lack of oxygen.
‘Brave decision cost Gavin his life’
Praising Mr Rawson’s bravery, the judge said: “He must have seen Nathan from the top hatch and, without thinking for his own safety, bravely stepped into the tanker to rescue him.
“That brave decision cost Gavin his life. He suffered the same fate as Nathan almost immediately, suffocating and unconscious.
“The method that’s been in place at Greenfeeds for years, which senior management has known and actually approved of, is to simply climb in, clean the tanker; take your chance,” the judge added.
Ian Leivers was found guilty of violating the Workplace Health and Safety Act as a director of Greenfeeds Ltd.
Transportation director Stewart Brown, 69, from Mansfield, was sentenced to one year in prison, with two years of probation, for not having reasonable concern for the health and safety of others.
Nathan ‘so excited about becoming a dad’
Mr Walker’s relatives described him as “loving and affectionate”, as well as a “family-oriented person” and “a wonderful eldest brother”.
“Nathan is very excited about becoming a father. He was supposed to be here to see his son born. He should be here with his son now,” his family said in a statement. An announcement.
“The shock, horror and grief of hearing that our son was killed will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
‘He’s our hero’
Meanwhile, Mr. Rawson’s family paid tribute to their “very loving son, brother and uncle”.
They said, “Although it broke our hearts, we are so proud of Gavin and what he did that day,” they said.
“He did what he always did and went out to help someone in need, despite the danger to himself.
“He was our hero and we will always remember him that way.
“We just wish we could hug him, hug him and tell him he’s our hero. It’s been so damaging to our entire family that we never will. can do this.”