Four years after, UK agree to arrange two companies over the death of five Africans in recycling plant
London, Dec. 2, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Two recycling companies and two people linked to them are to be charged over the deaths of five African men who died when a concrete wall fell on them.
Almamo Jammeh, Ousmane Diaby, Bangally Dukureh, Saibo Sillah and Mahamadou Jagana died at Shredmet’s premises in Birmingham on 7 July 2016.
The Health and Safety Executive is to prosecute ENSCO 10101 – formerly known as Shredmet – and its predecessor Hawkeswood Metal Recycling.
It follows a three-year investigation.
The four men from The Gambia and one from Senegal were clearing a bay at the recycling plant in Nechells when a 3.6m (11ft 10in) adjacent wall collapsed, causing hundreds of tonnes of metal ingots to fall on top of them
The men could only be identified by their fingerprints.
Tombong Conteh survived, but suffered a severe leg injury and has been unable to return to work.
In a statement, Daniel Lemberger Cooper, the solicitor for the families, said they welcomed the decision after being left devastated by the loss of the men.
“We regret that already four years have passed since they died and we ask for the criminal proceedings to progress without delay or obstruction,” he added.
An inquest into the deaths in Birmingham in 2018, was told by an HSE investigator that the wall “could have gone at any time” due to being “overloaded” with scrap metal and was not safe.
Director Wayne Hawkeswood told the proceedings he could not “comprehend how this happened”.
Graham Woodhouse, also a director, said the firm’s safety adviser never raised any worries “in relation to the construction of the concrete blocks” in his monthly site audits.
Jurors returned a verdict of accidental death.
The HSE began its investigation in December 2017 after taking on the case from West Midlands Police.
It put back its decision on whether to prosecute the firm by the fourth anniversary of the deaths in July, which was described as “utterly shocking” by labour’s shadow employment minister Seema Malhotra.