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Saturday 20th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

A CONSTRUCTION firm was found guilty of the manslaughter of two workers yesterday who fell to their deaths during the renovation of a multi-million-pound luxury flat in London.

Tomasz Procko, 22, and Karol Symanski, 29, died while hauling a large sofa to a first-floor balcony at the flat in Belgravia in 2014.

The firm, Martinisation (London) Limited, denied wrongdoing but had gone into administration following the deaths.

Judge Gerald Gordon, sitting in the Old Bailey, warned that if the company had done so to avoid the consequences of its neglect it could be guilty of “perverting the course of justice.”

The jury found the disgraced firm guilty of health and safety breaches and two charges of corporate manslaughter.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Far too often after a worker is killed, employers seek to avoid justice by taking the company into administration.”

She said laws were needed to prevent companies closing down to avoid their responsibilities then re-emerging as so-called “phoenix firms.”

Prosecutor Adrian Darbishire QC said Martinisation had a “long and unhappy history of neglect of health and safety.”

He also described the accident, which was caused by the workers hauling against and leaning over the balcony to pull up the sofa, as “entirely preventable.”

The court heard that the entire workforce spoke Polish as their first language, yet the firm’s policy documents and risk assessment were only available in English.

Mr Darbishire QC added that the fact that none of the health and safety documents were in Polish suggested they “were effectively for show and nothing more.”

Falling from height is the single greatest cause of workplace deaths in Britain, with 40 people losing their lives every year.