Director is banned over safety case

THE OWNER of a quarry firm has been disqualified from holding a company directorship after ignoring an order to introduce safer working practices.

In the first case of its kind, Rodney Chapman, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was banned from being a company director for two years and fined pounds 5,000 in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive. His company was also fined pounds 5,000 and ordered to pay costs of pounds 3,553

In June 1990, the HSE claimed that a site run by Chapman's firm, Chapman Chalk Supplies Ltd, at Jevington, East Sussex, was dangerous as there were rock falls where employees were working. A prohibition notice was served on the company.

Later that year, an industrial tribunal allowed work to restart on the site on condition that safer practices were implemented.

However, last week, Mr Chapman pleaded guilty to charges under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act that he had failed to implement these new practices.

Beryl Cooper QC, assistant recorder at Lewes Crown Court, said Mr Chapman had placed men in great danger.

But it was her decision to use powers under the 1986 Company Directors Disqualification Act that has prompted interest. It is the first time a director has been banned under this act in relation to a health and safety issue.

Yesterday, David Eves, the HSE's deputy director general, said: 'It is clear that the courts are beginning to share the HSE's views of the importance of health and safety management.'