Skip Firm Boss Guilty Of Manslaughter Following Worker’s Death

Wolverhampton Crown Court
Wolverhampton Crown Court

A skip firm manager has been handed a two year suspended sentence following the death of a worker.

Jagpal “Jagger” Singh died after either being struck by the arm of an excavator or from falling when trying to avoid it, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

44-year-old Bikram Mahli, the alleged manager at the time, controlled the excavator as the victim was standing in a waste container sorting garden waste at Bilston Skips in Wolverhampton when the incident occurred.

Mr Michael Burrows QC said: “Bikram Mahli was operating a JCB and moved the arm over the skip. Exactly what happened next is not clear. Jagpal Singh was either struck by the arm of the excavator or fell trying to avoid it.”

 “Bilston Skips Ltd never considered the risk to their workers and did nothing to put in place a system to ensure their safety. Had there been one this incident could not have occured and Jagpal Singh would not have been killed.”

According to the Express and Star, Mr Singh was taken to New Cross Hospital where he was later certified dead less than an hour after the incident on June 28 2012.

He had suffered serious internal injuries with one of his lungs detached by “significant blunt force” to the chest, the court heard.

The defendant, who said he hadn’t undergone health and safety training, told police: “I started the machine, then ‘Jagger’ called to me and said the nearest bin needed to be pressed. I didn’t know where he was. I heard his voice. When he called me I turned left, pressed the bin once and then saw ‘Jagger’ down. I left the machine and ran to him.”

Mahli had later maintained that the victim was already on the ground when he arrived to start the excavator, claimed Mr Burrows, who continued: “That cannot be right because it does not tally with what we see from CCTV coverage of the incident.”

Bilston Skips, which has since gone into liquidation, denied corporate manslaughter and failing to discharge its duty of care to employees.

Mahli has admitted negligence in failing to ensure the safety of Mr Singh but denied manslaughter through gross negligence.

The prosecutor said this was an appalling system of work with “nothing to segregate people from moving vehicles. Bikram Mahli should never have moved the arm of the excavator to the skip where he knew the worker was. There was an obvious risk of causing serious injury or death. This failing was so gross it amounted to a criminal offence.”

He concluded: “Bilston Skips Ltd never considered the risk to their workers and did nothing to put in place a system to ensure their safety. Had there been one this incident could not have occured and Jagpal Singh would not have been killed.”

Bikram Singh Mahli was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.  Bilston Skips was fined £600,000 after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter.


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