Two security companies have been fined after a security officer died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Javaid Iqbal, a 29 year-old father of three, was employed by London-based KK Security Services Ltd as a security officer on a construction site in Leigh, Wigan. KK Security Services Ltd was sub-contracted by Veritas Security (Southern) Ltd, a Southampton-based company, despite it being written into the contract from the client that no sub-contracting would take place.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that, during the early hours of 6 December 2014, the site’s generator failed in sub-zero temperatures and, in an attempt to keep warm, Iqbal lit some barbecue coals in a wheelbarrow which he placed in a 20-foot steel container used as the site office. Iqbal was found dead by police officers a few hours later having died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The court also heard that Iqbal had made a number of attempts to re-start the site generator, and had sought assistance from both his employers, but neither had provided any meaningful assistance to him.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that KK Security Services Ltd failed to provide a management system to protect the welfare and safety of its employees, particularly lone workers. No real provision had been made by the company for emergency support, the only option open to Iqbal being to ring his employer who was hundreds of miles away and could offer no practical assistance.
Emergency situations outside office hours
The investigation also found that Veritas Security (Southern) Ltd failed to put proper arrangements in place with the site occupier for emergency situations – such as a loss of power or heating – outside office hours.
HSE principal inspector Neil Jamieson said after the hearing: “Mr Iqbal should have been required to ring and speak to his company every hour or have some form of panic button. His calls were not being monitored. Instead of this, he was simply required to text every hour stating that all was well.”
Jamieson continued: “This tragic death could have been so easily avoided had either KK Securities Ltd or Veritas Security (Southern) Ltd made adequate arrangements to regularly check on Mr Iqbal’s welfare during the quiet hours. Instead, it appears he was left to fend for himself.”
KK Security Services Ltd of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf in London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 with £4,854 costs.
Veritas Security (Southern) Ltd of St Anne Street, Salisbury in Wiltshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 with £6,220 costs.
Both parties were also required to pay an additional £120 victims surcharge.