Two men have recently been jailed for a total of five years after the death of a construction worker at a Northamptonshire site.

Shane Wilkinson, aged thirty-three, died back in 2014 where he was employed as a ground worker. Working at the Conquest Homes building site, Mr Wilkinson was standing next to a deep trench when the incident occurred.

Unfortunately, the trench had been excavated incorrectly, and an unsecured trench wall collapsed. The rubble completely buried the worker and despite the efforts of others, Mr Wilkinson died on site.

Now, the director and site manager of Conquest Homes has been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter. Sentence for four years in jail, the site manager (Winterton, 52), will spend two years in custody. Then, he will spend a further two on licence. Alongside this, he was also ordered to pay £90,500 worth of costs.

The Construction Enquirer added: “Wortley, 48, of Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, who traded as Clearview Demolition, was [also] convicted of safety charges.”

“He was given a 12-month jail sentence and will spend six months in custody and six months on licence. He was ordered to pay £20,000 towards costs.”

During the trial, it was uncovered that the sides of the trench hadn’t been properly secured. Alongside this, basic safety measures were also ignored. Therefore, Winterton and Wortley were convicted of serious breaches of health and safety legislations.

The senior investigating officer described: “as a single parent of five young children Shane Wilkinson had only been working on the Collyweston construction site for a couple of days during the early part of September 2014 because he needed money to buy school shoes for his children.”

“His death was an avoidable and terrible loss of life due to the gross negligence of Winterton and the dangerous environment created by both him and Wortley.”

“Shane’s death could easily have been avoided if Winterton and Wortley had shown any regard for basic safety measures on the site.”

“No sentence imposed will ever turn back time for Shane or his family, however, I do hope this sentence sends out a clear message to others that adequate safeguards must be put in place to prevent people from harm.”

This isn’t the first trench collapse to take place recently either. Take a look at this video in which it took three hours for a construction worker to be rescued from a collapsed trench. It all happened so quickly that he was even still clutching his spade in his hand! Take a look at the full footage here.

To combat security risks like this though, Balfour Beaty has introduced the idea of sites becoming ‘human free zones’. Within this, they describe that the work would be completed by robots instead, with very little human involvement necessary. Take a look at the report here.

So what do you think of this? Let us know in the comments below.


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