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First construction boss jailed for manslaughter following death of father-and-son team

BRITAIN'S first building boss found guilty of manslaughter is behind bars this week starting an 18-month prison stretch.

The sentence will send shockwaves through the industry as courts get tough with health and safety offenders.

Brian Dean, 60, from Stoke-onTrent, was jailed last week after being found guilty by jury of the manslaughter of Michael and Carl Redgate.

The father-and-son team died when a tunnel kiln they were demolishing collapsed in July 2000, burying them under tonnes of rubble.

HSE investigating inspector Dave Boulton warned: 'It is important to understand that if you are in charge of work activities and someone is killed, you could be on trial for manslaughter.'

Stafford Crown Court heard that the tragic pair were working for Brian Dean Builders and Civil Engineers.

Sentencing Dean, Judge John Shand said: 'You took on this job of demolishing a tunnel kiln when you were out of your depth.

'The risk of the kiln collapsing was a risk that you understood and you did not warn the Redgates of this risk.

'Two deaths followed from this case.

The least sentence I can pass is 18 months.'

Construction Confederation health and safety director Suzannah Nichol said: 'If this doesn't make people stand up and take notice then they don't deserve to be in the industry.

'The 18-month sentence shows that courts can and will find directors responsible for their actions. Jailing directors has always been talked about, but this makes it a reality.'

Construction union leaders welcomed the sentence, which they believe will boost safety standards.

Ucatt general secretary George Brumwell said: 'For years we have been campaigning for custodial sentences for directors responsible for the manslaughter of their employees.

'This sentence should send shockwaves through the building industry where health and safety regulations are all too often ignored.'

Transport union TGWU construction secretary Bob Blackman said:

'Fines haven't worked. It is the case that the only way to make directors accountable is by prison sentences for failures to adopt a safety regime.'

The court heard how a catalogue of errors caused the tragedy during work to prepare a 126 m-long tunnel kiln for demolition at tile manufacturer Daniel Platt.

The Redgates were not shown structural drawings of the kiln and were not warned about the dangers of removing steel supports before 56 tonnes of masonry came crashing down on them.

Dean was chosen to carry out the work after undercutting the lowest previous quote.

Daniel Platt pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two charges under the CDM regulations for failing to appoint a planning supervisor and ensuring a safety plan had been prepared. The firm was fined £125,000.