A boss of hire firm Bilston Skips has been spared jail after being found guilty of causing the death of one of his workers through gross negligence in a tragedy that had been ‘waiting to happen’.
The business was fined £600,000 when convicted in its absence of corporate manslaughter but has gone into voluntary liquidation and is unlikely to pay.
Bikram Mahli – the 44-year-old site manager – was at the controls of the excavator that either knocked Jagpal ‘Jagger’ Singh to the ground, or forced him to fall at the firm’s yard in Monmore Road, Monmore Green, Wolverhampton.
The 24-year-old victim – a family friend from the same village in India as his boss – was standing in a large ‘bin’ sorting garden rubbish when he asked for help to flatten the load. Mahli told Wolverhampton Crown Court during the two-week trial: “Jagger called from above. I could see everything clearly.
“I moved the machine forward, then compressed that bin twice. After that I saw Jagger lying on the ground.” The injured man was helped to the site office by workmates and an ambulance was called but he had suffered catastrophic internal injuries.
Mr Singh, from Bilston Road, Wolverhampton, was taken to New Cross Hospital where he was certified dead less than an hour after the incident on June 28, 2012. One of his lungs had been detached by ‘significant blunt force’ to the chest, probably when struck by the JCB arm, although the 8ft-high fall from the skip in which he had been working could not be excluded as a cause of the fatal injury.