Birmingham recycling plant directors guilty after five workers killed by collapsing wall


Two company directors have been convicted of health and safety breaches after five men died when a 45-tonne wall collapsed.

After a six-week trial, the jury found Wayne Hawkeswood and Graham Woodhouse guilty of all 12 counts under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The victim’s families said that the firm’s – Hawkeswood Metal Recycling and Ensco 10101, previously known as Shredmet – failures were “scandalous and inexcusable”.

Sentencing will take place at a later date.

Ousmane Kaba Diaby, 39, Saibo Sumbundu Sillah, 42, Bangally Tunkara Dukuray, 55, Almamo Kinteh Jammeh, 45, and Mahamadou Jagana Jagana, 49, were all fatally crushed by a collapsing 3.6m high, 45-tonne wall at the site on Aston Church Road in Birmingham on July 2016, while Tombong Camara Conteh sustained serious injuries during the incident.

The five men were killed instantly and had to be identified by their fingerprints.

They were employed in Spain before moving to the UK because they had trouble obtaining work there. The men assisted in clearing and sorting metals and were employed by Shredmet through an agency.

It’s just a tragic instance, that could’ve been prevented.

Principal investigator with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Amy Kalay, inherited the investigation in July 2019. She said: “From a personal point of view, I’ve been with the HSE now for just over 20 years and this is one of the worst cases that I’ve had to investigate and I think it was one of those that will stay with me forever.”

“We had 263 tonnes worth of briquettes piled against a wall that had a cumulative total of 45 tonnes – nobody was going to survive that incident… we had had five men that died and three others could easily have been in the bay at the time.”

“It’s just a tragic instance, that could’ve been prevented.”

At the time of the incident in 2016, despite being a relatively small sector in terms of employment, the annual average fatal injury rate over the previous five years was around 18 times as high as the all-industry rate.

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