Apprentice death could have been prevented – but government couldn’t be bothered

The late Cameron Minshull: This 16-year-old was killed when he was dragged into a lathe due to poor health and safety measures.

The late Cameron Minshull: This 16-year-old was killed when he was dragged into a lathe due to poor health and safety measures [Image: Daily Mirror].

Work placement providers’ duty of care for people on apprenticeships and other government-sponsored work placements is being questioned after a factory boss was jailed over the death of a 16-year-old youngster.

Cameron Minshull was dragged into a lathe because he was wearing ‘unsuitable’ ill-fitting overalls which hung from his wrists and had not been trained to use the machine, Manchester Crown Court was told.

At the time, he was being paid just £3 an hour, after being rushed into a placement by recruitment agency Lime People Training Solutions – which puts people into apprenticeships in order to get public money from the Conservative Government’s Skills Funding Agency, according to the Daily Mirror.

The factory owner was jailed for eight months and his son received a suspended four-month prison sentence after admitting health and safety offences.

But Lime People Training Solutions was let off with a £75,000 fine – equivalent to its for putting around 17 youngsters in work placements – after denying any such breaches.

This happened because the government isn’t interested in health and safety. It considers calls for proper monitoring to be over-bureaucratic and burdensome.

On the Health and Safety Executive’s website, in the page dealing with work experience, HSE chair Judith Hackett states: “Work placement arrangements are too often seen as over-bureaucratic and burdensome, putting off potential employers.”

She continues: “Employers should already be managing the risks in their workplaces and are best placed to assess whether or not they need to do anything additional for a new young person joining them.”

And she states: “Schools and colleges… should not be second-guessing employers’ risk assessments or requiring additional paperwork.”

This next part is absolutely appalling: “An appreciation of risk and how to deal with it can be one of the biggest benefits offered by a placement.”

Is this appreciation to be gained through the death of an apprentice?

Work placement organiser companies are told: “If you are advised that a particular placement is not possible due to health and safety, the person giving you that advice may well be wrong – there are very few work activities a student cannot do due to health and safety law.

“Remember that the placement provider (employer) has primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student and should be managing any significant risks.” The only step the organiser is advised to take is to talk through the work required of the apprentice/person on the work placement, and discuss relevant precautions. There is no requirement to ensure those precautions are in place.

So that’s all right then. There’s no need to worry about health and safety concerns; they are somebody else’s problem.

Employers are told: “Under health and safety law, work experience students are your employees. You treat them no differently to other young people you employ.

“Simply use your existing arrangements for assessments and management of risks to young people.”

There you have it.

There is no legal requirement for extra measures to ensure the health and safety of young people placed with employers – and nobody checks an employer’s practices to ensure they conform with legal requirements.

The death of Cameron Minshull could have been prevented – but the government couldn’t be bothered.

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  1. Mr.Angry July 16, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    The poor boy how must his family feel, what type of a country have we become this shower down on the inner circle should hang their heads in shame. Sixteen starting out in life words fail me.

  2. Jim Round July 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    And so it comes to pass.
    For a long time there has been grumblings from certain people and groups who want to ride roughshod over Health and Safety (think also of the kicking “elf & safety” gets in our fab free press)
    If there are any more deaths, I wonder if there will be “outrage”
    After all, we are dealing with “hard working people” here and not the deaths of those who are obviously pulling a fast one (sic)
    If you look at the recent headlines regarding the Thomas Cook holiday tragedy, I did notice some comment about “foreign H & S” is that the level we will descend to?
    I suppose we will have the unions to fall back on….oh????

  3. jonathansharpe July 16, 2015 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    so what- is the government reasoning – there are no skills apprenticeships any-more, minimum education for maximum profit- – lots of cheap labour – do we expect the psychopaths to even think about this or care ? Your wasting your time even reporting it – the only ones who care are his family. The public are too busy believing government propaganda- there will be no one other with a wink of sleep lost over this not from the public ,the government – nor from anyone intermediately involved – they were just following proceeder and will al wriggle out of responsibility.

    • Mike Sivier July 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      I fancy doing a FoI request next.

      • Gary Burley July 17, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

        please do Mike, your attack on the government over DWP death statistics was spot on, now the courts just have to force their hands on revealling them. there aren’t many people who are successful at being a thorn in the governments side and those that can’t or don’t know how are fully behind those like yourself that can

  4. Nigel Harman July 16, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Another life lost because of greed it’s saddening to see our country being reduced into a sweat shop,PROFIT PROFIT PROFIT the only word that matter;s. Workers now mean nothing to some companies non existent health and safety for its work force zero hour contracts etc and a young boy’s life means nothing. More blood on our government’s hands! My heartfelt condolences to the family of Cameron Minshull.

  5. amnesiaclinic July 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Truly shocking.
    HSE costs money. Take out your own insurance to cover the risks – unum et al see plenty of dollar signs.
    Thank you for alerting us.
    What other deaths are yet to surface??

    • Mike Sivier July 16, 2015 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      I was on Kanjin Tor’s internet radio show this evening (Thursday) with ‘Utopian Firefighter’, and he said the changes to the Fire and Rescue Service mean more members of the public (and firefighters) are likely to die due to cuts, there is likely to be a shortage of experience in the service in the future because there’s a recruitment freeze at the moment, and this is likely to lead to even more threat to life.
      Of course, the Conservative Government has plausible deniability – the fire and rescue service is a high-risk profession and people who get caught up in fires are also at risk – but we can see where the problem lies, can’t we?

  6. aussieeh July 18, 2015 at 2:20 am - Reply

    This poor lad and his family, my heart goes out to them all. Looking at him he reminds me of my grandson full of beans, just starting out on life, with probably little idea of how all his eventual talents will be used to make someone else very rich, being put into situations he would have no control over, to say no means loss of job. Takes me back to when I was an apprentice in 1971, working for a Tory who owned a garage, I too was placed in front of a 40 year old lathe with no safety guards, and a pair of overalls that were 3 times my size, the wrists taped up with masking tape, the arse somewhere round the back of my knees. All this done so the bosses could rip off their customers, with second hand clutch covers that had been resurfaced, God help me if one came out wrong and couldn’t be used. At the time my wages went from £1.93 a week when I’d been there 3 month they went up to £3.50 a week, I can’t remember how much they charged for a cover but I know it was more than £3.50, and I resurfaced around 10 a day. My training, I was shown how to do one then left to it, there was no such thing as health & safety, and too think, I had thought that all that kind of thing had been resigned to the dustbin of the past. It would seem the Tories have never and will never change Profit first at any cost. They are all guilty everyone who pushed this poor young lad to his tragic avoidable death, for profit.

  7. crazytrucker1951 July 18, 2015 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    As a time served Toolmaker I spent many years around machine tools and I just can’t imagine how this young adult died, it simply does not bear thinking about or how his poor family must feel.
    In the 60’s and 70’s these places were the so called Trade Shops where rules were flouted with impunity, not all I must add, but many were disaster areas waiting to happen. I’ve been away from engineering since the 80’s and I thought these places had been eradicated, obviously I was wrong. Justice and the Law just don’t speak to one another any more, yet I beg for the sake of this young adults parents let justice be done and make the punishment fit the crime!

  8. wildswimmerpete July 18, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Just taken a look at at Lime People’s current vacancies (18-7-15):
    Market / Product Manager EMEA – Risk & Compliance Risk Management £90-130,000 +bens +bonus London 30 / 05 / 2015
    No comment really needed.

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