no embargo - 14 July 2014 Back to news releases
Some justice won for Cameron Minshull, 16 year old apprentice, killed at work 8 January 2013
Sentencing 14th July Manchester Crown Court
Today, Tuesday 14th July, the companies and individuals responsible for the death on 8th January 2013 of 16 year old Cameron Minshull, on a government approved apprenticeship, were sentenced by Judge Stockdale at Manchester Crown Court..
On the day he died at Huntley Mount Engineering, Cameron was killed doing an extremely dangerous procedure - deburring and polishing by hand - that was unnecessary but exposed him to work on a CNC lathe with the safety mechanisms overridden, with his hands close to parts revolving at 700+ revolutions per minute, with the obvious risk of catastrophic injury or death. The judge made it clear that in no way at all was Cameron responsible for his death but that this responsibility lay at the door of Huntley Mount Engineering and the Hussains plus Lime People Training Solutions.
Huntley Mount Engineering (HME), who provided the employment and showed gross and reckless disregard for the health and safety of Cameron Minshull and other young employees, were fined £150,000 to be paid in 6 instalments of £25,000 (after taking mitigating factors into account). HME showed a gross and reckless disregard for the health and safety of its employees all of whom were young, inexperienced and low paid, exposing them to a system of work which was dangerous in the extreme. The Judge did not think this was deliberate corner cutting to save money, but use of low wage labour was an aggravating feature.
Lime People Training Solutions Ltd, made no plea and did not submit any mitigation. They were found guilty by a jury after a trial, and though they were less culpable, and charged with a slightly less serious offence, they were fined £75,000 to be paid by 30.9.15 unless the liquidator makes an application to the judge by end of July. The judge “did not accept the evidence of Mark Swales their assessor, that he had told the Hussain’s that Cameron was not to work with any machinery until he was 18. They placed Cameron in a working environment the dangers of which would have been obvious had they taken time to check.“
Zaffar Hussain, “was the sole director and controlling mind of Huntley Mount Engineering, and the responsibility for health and safety was his and his alone”. While the judge didn’t believe he deliberately placed employees at risk, his culpability was high and he showed a gross and reckless disregard for young employees health and safety, The judge did not accept that Zaffar Hussain’s submission that Cameron’s death was an extreme event and said the risk of catastrophic injury, fatal injury from direct exposure to fast running machinery must have been obvious. The lathe revolved at 500-700 revs per minute and possibly up to 3,800 revs per minute. To expose workers to such a risk was reckless in the extreme. The judge accepted that there was no deliberate corner cutting for profit over safety but the use of low paid young, inexperienced workers, with a lack of training and supervision, was a significant aggravating feature. The judge said Zafar was aware of the danger as evidenced by his woefully inadequate instructions to employees to roll up their sleeves not wear gloves, not use rags and not to press too hard with the emery cloth. Accepting his genuine remorse, nevertheless, the judge said the seriousness of the offence and his high level of culpability meant that though it was uncommon in such cases, an immediate custodial sentence was called for. However he would make it as short as he possibly could: eight months reduced from 12 months.
Akbar Hussain, the supervisor as an employee himself with no managerial responsibility and no training himself had a lower level of culpability than his father Zaffar, and had showed genuine remorse and contrition. However his offence of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others, including Cameron, by his operation of the lathes, was so serious that it merited a custodial sentence of four months but suspended for 12 month, He also sentenced Akbar Hussain to 200 hours of community service and a £3,000 fine, to be paid in monthly instalments of £200.
Joanne Hill ,Cameron’s mother read out a statement after court, see below.
“Cameron’s death is a tragedy for us. But it wasn’t a tragic accident, it was due to terrible negligence and appalling lack of health and safety. His death could have, and should have, been prevented. We do not want any other young person to be killed as Cameron was, or for any other family to go through the heartbreak we have.
"We call on all training agencies to properly check the health and safety systems in all workplaces BEFORE you place apprentices.
"And we call on the government to make health and safety at work a major priority for young people. To check that all training agencies and employers are obeying the law and have safe systems of work in place before a young person is placed at work. We want the government to investigate the parent company of Lime People Training to ensure they are fit to place young people.
"We want the government to make sure no other young person is ever at risk of being killed or hurt on a government approved apprenticeship, training or work experience.You owe parents and families this much - to keep our sons and daughters safe at work.”
Hilda Palmer of Families Against Corporate Killers said : “This is one of the worst incidents I have seen. The gross recklessness negligence of Huntley Mount, the Hussain’s and Lime People Training Solutions is completely horrendous. It never should have happened. That it did is at least partly due to the removal of requirements on Training Agencies and Employers for proper health and safety checks before young people are placed; to the cut back in enforcement and scrutiny by the HSE due to government cuts and the dumbing down of guidance on young people’s health and safety at work. It is also due to the relentless attacks on health and safety as over the top, unnecessary and a ‘burden on business’ led by David Cameron himself. Clearly the burden of a complete and utter disregard for health and safety by all involved here has fallen heavily on Cameron Minshull and his family. And as he was on a government approved apprenticeship, he and his family were entitled to have his live and health protected. They sent their son to work, to do the right thing, expecting he would be safe at work, and they have been badly betrayed not only by those directly involved but by the government for cutting the system meant to ensure his safety,””
For more information contact Hilda Palmer at Families Against Corporate Killers: 0161 636 7557 or 0792398 00240
On January 8th 2013 our lives were devastated for ever.
My wonderful son Cameron was killed at Huntley Mount Engineering because his employers made him work at a lathe without safety guards, clearly exposing him to risk of injury. Lime People Training Solutions placed Cameron at Huntley Mount on a government approved apprenticeship scheme.
We believed Cameron was safe at work. We believed that Huntley Mount had good health and safety systems. We thought that Lime People Training Solutions had to check it was safe for Cameron to work there, and we thought that the government made sure it was safe.
We trusted them all that Cameron would be safe and they betrayed our trust. We found out during the trial that Huntley Mount was not a suitable, safe place for anyone to work in, let alone a 16 year old apprentice like Cameron. And that Lime People was more interested in the money than Cameron’s safety.
We were proud of Cameron for going to work and he was proud of himself too. He was only 16 and had his whole life ahead of him. He was such a wonderful person, and he is missed so much by his whole family every single day, and by his hundreds of friends. He should never have died for doing the right thing: for going to work to earn a living and to be trained to become an engineer.
We are glad that some justice has been done today and that those responsible have been punished for their crimes. But it isn’t enough, it doesn’t bring Cameron back and we have to live without him for ever.
Cameron’s death is a tragedy for us. But it wasn’t a tragic accident, it was due to terrible negligence and appalling lack of health and safety. His death could have, and should have, been prevented. We do not want any other young person to be killed as Cameron was, or for any other family to go through the heartbreak we have.
We call on all training agencies to properly check the health and safety systems in all workplaces BEFORE you place apprentices.
And we call on the government to make health and safety at work a major priority for young people. To check that all training agencies and employers are obeying the law and have safe systems of work in place before a young person is placed at work. We want the government to investigate the parent company of Lime People Training to ensure they are fit to place young people.
We want the government to make sure no other young person is ever at risk of being killed or hurt on a government approved apprenticeship, training or work experience.
We would like to thank the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Health and Safety Executive for conducting a good investigation and bringing the case against those responsible for Cameron’s death.
We would also like thank Families Against Corporate Killers for their help and support.