Lukas Rootman leads CMS’ health and safety practice with a focus on the high-risk manufacturing, construction and waste management sectors. A large volume of the practice's work encompasses investigations, inquests and prosecutions concerning fatal workplace accidents, while a robust advisory service including risk management and incident response work is also provided to clients. Fire safety issues are also a key specialism; the team is regularly instructed by hotels and real estate clients to carry out audits of large-scale property portfolios.
Health and safety in Yorkshire And The Humber
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP maintains a high profile in the health and safety field through its close professional relationships with leading insurers in the UK; key examples include Aviva and Zurich. Recent work for associate Matthew Breakell, construction sector expert Chris Baranowski and healthcare sector expert Tracey Longfield include corporate manslaughter proceedings, criminal investigations initiated by the police and Health and Safely Executive, and public inquiries into workplace negligence. The group also provides non-contentious advice on reporting requirements and compliance issues.
‘The DACB Regulatory Team in Leeds is one of the powerhouses of the North of England. They boast exceptional strength and depth within the insurance sector and offer clients a range of highly knowledgeable and skilled partners and associates.’
‘Chris Baranowski is an exceptionally shrewd operator who has his finger on the pulse of every development in the field’
‘Matt Breakell is a passionate litigator who demands the best of himself and the team for his clients.’
‘The team have expertise which is second to none. They offer comprehensive and robust advice which is clear and concise.’
‘We have instructed DACB on a very complex matter and Chris Baranowski has stood out for his utter professionalism and legal knowledge.’
‘Matthew Breakwell is a dynamic partner with a great insight into the litigation process. He never shies away from difficult cases and never leaves a stone unturned in the defence of his clients.’
‘The team are very professional but personable and extremely happy to oblige in relation to the needs or our business.’
‘They want to get to know us and want to offer the best service to suit our needs.’
Dimensions UK Ltd
Royal & Sun Alliance
- Acting for a building distribution company in a criminal investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive arising from a fatal workplace transport accident.
- Acting for a haulage contractor in a criminal investigation conducted by the police and the Health and Safety Authority arising from a fatal workplace accident.
- Representing an engineering company in inquest proceedings and criminal investigations arising from the death of a sub-contractor at a global brewery plant.
At DLA Piper, Teresa Hitchcock is a highly renowned health and safety expert, who leads the national team out of the Sheffield office. With its origins as a corporate compliance practice, the group excels in large-scale risk assessments and regulatory compliance programmes for domestic and global corporates. Clients stem from high-risk sectors including the manufacturing, food processing, healthcare and construction industries. Director Alistair Clough regularly assists with corporate due diligence and investigations arising from workplace injuries. The firm also has a notable reputation for its involvement in nationally important inquests and regulatory investigations.
Other key lawyers:
Airbus Helicopters S.A.S.
- Represented Airbus Helicopters in the high-profile Fatal Accident Inquiry arising from a helicopter crash claiming 10 lives in Glasgow. Issues were raised in the inquiry relating to the manufacture of the aircraft, requiring an investigation and technical evidence reporting.
Clarion recently established a regulatory practice through the recruitment of the highly-rated health and safety expert Sarah Taylor from Pinsent Masons LLP. Clients in retail and food and drink sectors engage the practice in Trading Standards investigations, prosecutions by the Environmental Agency, and Coroner Inquests. Associate Lucy Alderson, who joined from DWF, assists with the full range of defence work and provides health and safety compliance training to directors and management teams.
Other key lawyers:
‘Any team with Sarah Taylor present is a very strong one and a true competitor to all in the field of health and safety and other regulatory areas.‘
‘Sarah Taylor is a premier league solicitor. She is an outstanding lawyer, but is able to combine this with pragmatic advice and a measure of calmness in complex cases. The Clarion team is now one of, if not the foremost health and safety teams in the area. They have blue-chip clients who value their expertise in particular with regards to prosecutions and inquests.‘
‘Sarah Taylor has massive experience in this area of law.‘
TJ Morris Limited t/a Home Bargains
- Acting for TJ Morris (trading as Home Bargains) in an investigation by Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council following a test purchase operation in which an e-liquid (an age restricted product) was sold to an underage volunteer.
DWF’s regulatory, compliance and investigations practice is highly regarded for its involvement in high-profile inquests, police investigations and corporate manslaughter prosecutions. Paul Matthews leads the Leeds-based team and regularly defends public authorities, food and drink companies, manufacturing companies and transport clients. Senior associate David Chant acts in Health and Safety Executive investigations through referrals from his insurer clients. The group also has a crisis response service, provides risk mitigation advice and handles internal policy audits.
Other key lawyers:
‘DWF were a very knowledgeable and professional firm to deal with. From initial contact with the team, I was given the confidence that they knew exactly how to deal with the case in the industry I was in. They had resources in place and the team in place to gain industry knowledge which reassured me I was dealing with the right firm. I felt the service I was given was bespoke to my business needs.’
‘My initial contact was with Paul Matthews. I was immediately reassured I was dealing with the correct firm as his manner and professionalism put me at ease with what was a very stressful time in the business. I felt the team went above and beyond getting to know the business and I felt they got to know me not only on a professional level but also supported me on a personal level.‘
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Electricity North West
- Representing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the public inquiry and ongoing criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police following the Grenfell Tower fire.
- Representing Kerry Ingredients in a Health and Safety Executive prosecution following an incident on site resulting in a serious injury to an employee.
- Representing Abbey Architectural Ironmongery in a police investigation and prosecution following a fatal incident on site.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s national environment, health and safety practice includes Leeds-based Paul Verrico and new senior associate recruit Eddy Steele, who joined from DLA Piper. The team has expertise in providing extensive training programmes for a large corporate client base of energy, manufacturing and education clients. The team regularly represents clients in investigations initiated by the Health and Safety Executive and other authorities into workplace fatalities and fire safety offences. National infrastructure clients also engage the team to handle appeals against improvement notices.
Other key lawyers:
McCain Foods GB Limited
Lucozade Ribena Suntory
South Staffordshire Water Plc
- Representing Network Rail as an interested party in the inquest following the 2017 terror incident at the Manchester Arena.
- Acting for Sellafield in an investigation and prosecution by the Office for Nuclear Regulation following a contamination incident when an employee sustained a sharp injury through his glove while working in a controlled glovebox area.
- Appointed by a diversified industrials company to carry out a large-scale, complex review of the health and safety culture and operational management structure across 25 of its UK and Ireland sites.
Stuart Ponting is the go-to name at Walker Morris LLP for contentious health and safety engagements; he handles litigation and inquests into fatal accidents for household-name UK and international clients in the food and retail sectors. The team also provides full-service crisis management and incident response support to care homes and construction, manufacturing and healthcare companies, while practice head Jeanette Burgess regularly handles training programmes and audits. Senior associate Claire Burrows provides support on prosecutions and investigations, and is developing a niche in post-Grenfell fire safety issues.
‘Walker Morris have a very strong regulatory team with exceptional performers at partner level.‘
‘Stuart Ponting is exceptional – a great mix of experience, knowledge and nous all combine to enable him to deal with most regulators in a way which provides a positive outcome. He is the only external lawyer on speed dial in my car- ’nuff said.‘
‘Simon Tingle is a stand-out lawyer who manages huge clients extremely well and is a future star in the making.‘
P&S Textiles Limited
Karro Food Limited
Young’s Seafood Limited
Galliford Try plc
Arla Foods Limited
- Acting for an engineer at Didcot Power Station in a joint police and Health and Safety Executive investigation following an accident resulting in the loss of four lives.
- Acting for a food manufacturer in a police and Health and Safety Executive investigation following a serious electrocution incident.
- Representing a food manufacturer in a Health and Safety Executive prosecution following an amputation incident.
Weightmans recently expanded its health and safety department with a number of key hires including principle associate Anna Naylor from Kennedys. Naylor and national practice head David Lewis (who splits his time between Leeds and Liverpool) represent corporate clients, public sector bodies and local authorities in corporate manslaughter investigations, fatal accident inquests (including deaths in custody), police interviews and actions by the Health and Safety Executive; the group recently acted in an asbestos investigation for a manufacturing client. Further areas of expertise span the healthcare, energy and automotive sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Always exceptionally well prepared. Their partners and associates know the case inside out. As a firm they never lose sight of the human aspect of the case and approach cases, especially ones involving fatalities, with a sensitivity which is rare in the sector.‘
‘Weightmans have some good senior lawyers and have made some excellent lateral hires in recent months.‘
‘The breadth and depth of experience of the team are impressive, particularly in relation to contentious work.‘
‘I have been particularly impressed by David Lewis who embodies the hard work ethos of his team and imparts realistic advice.‘
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Premum Care Ltd
Contract Natural Gas Ltd
Jaguar Land Rover
East Riding District Council
- Advising Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council on a corporate manslaughter charge resulting from a fallen tree branch in a council-run park.
- Represented Premum Care and its majority shareholder in an inquest following a collapsed lift resulting in a fatal injury.
- Defended Contract Natural Gas in a technical offence under Gas Safety Regulations following a non-fatal gas explosion.
The housebuilding sector is a particular focus for the health and safety practice at Gateley Plc, which also has large-scale supermarkets, waste management services, food companies and manufacturing names on its client list. Practice head Pauline Munro is highly experienced in supporting clients during critical crisis-management situations, criminal court proceedings and general governance and internal policy reviews. Associates Chris Grainger and Kate Oliver’s expertise as police station representatives bolsters the team’s strength during regulatory investigations.
‘Very hands on and excellent experience.‘
‘Kate Oliver is a rising star; very pragmatic and focused.‘
‘Specialists in their field and dedicated to clients.‘
United Molasses Group
Drayton Manor Park Limited
Taylor Wimpey plc
North West Fire Control
Story Homes Group
Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc
Costcutter Supermarkets Group
Dr. Oetker (UK) Limited
Malmaison & Hotel du Vin Property Holdings Limited
Samworth Brothers Limited
Garvey Demolition Ltd
Chubb European Group SE
- Advising Malmaison Hotels on health and safety and fire safety investigations following a recent boiler explosion.
- Represented Drayton Park Manor in a public inquest following the high-profile fatal accident on its water rapids ride during a school trip.
- Providing advice to United Molasses Storage following an acid leak in 2017 resulting in the closure of the dock and a major health and safety investigation.
Kennedys’ Sheffield-based health and safety associates Rebecca Connell and Kadie Cooper act for insurers and corporate clients stemming from a broad range of sectors including the mining, healthcare, construction, waste disposal and leisure industries. The team is experienced in handling inquests and advocacy before the Coroner’s Court.
‘We find their advice and assistance invaluable.‘
Mitie Group (Care and Custody Health)
2 Sisters Food Group Limited
Champneys Springs Limited
Cleveland Potash Limited
NFU Risk Management Services
- Represented a client in an inquest into a customer who died after sustaining a burn in a steam room.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP handles high-profile national health and safety mandates; typical instructions for the group include handling prosecutions by Trading Standards offices, withdrawals of improvement notices (particularly for manufacturing and transport clients) and serious injury investigations.
‘The team is dynamic, client focused, extremely approachable and academically bright.‘
‘Extremely focused on looking after clients’ needs.‘
Esseco UK Limited
Maisons du Monde
Impact Fork Trucks Limited (part of EIE Group)
- Represented DB Cargo in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road following a trespass incident resulting in an electric shock.
- Represented a logistics company in a prosecution arising from an incident in which an employee suffered near-fatal head injuries while operating a forklift.
- Represented Speedy Asset Services in a prosecution brought by Trading Standards following a test purchase operation involving knives.
Plexus Law receives health and safety instructions from insurers and UK corporates; matters typically include Health and Safety Executive investigations into workplace incidents involving significant injuries and fatal accidents. Richard Salvini and Ciaran Garnett handle the breadth of defence matters including civil claims. Practice head Anthony Baker regularly handles casualty claims and Chris Foulkes recently represented individuals in police investigations and interviews.
‘The lawyers dealing with regulatory matters also deal with civil matters, which creates a single point of contact and advice where cases involve both regulatory and civil limbs. This inevitably gives rise to seamless continuity for the insured, and creates great depth of knowledge of a case by the lawyer with conduct. There is no duplication of investigation time and no duplication of hours spent in consideration of a case where separate regulatory and civil departments are in play.‘
‘Packed with experience, and with a strong insurance background covering a mass of risk-based activities, provides excellent clear and pragmatic advice. The team gives a detailed approach, and is not afraid to challenge and rigorously analyse at each and every stage.‘
‘A seamless, one-stop shop of vastly experienced and multi-skilled lawyers. Stand-out partners include Anthony Baker, Richard Salvini, Christian Foulkes and Gavin McClenaghan.‘
‘There are four standout individuals who provide excellent service- Anthony Baker, Chris Foulkes, Richard Salvini and Ciaran Garnett. The attention to detail and hard work pays off. Clients feel confident in each of them, and know that no stone has been left unturned. These partners get results even in the most difficult of situations.‘
Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd
WR Berkley Offshore
- Represented an individual who was investigated following the electrocution of a customer of a sports centre.
- Represented AIG and its insured Rainham Steel in an inquest by the Health and Safety Executive following a fatal loading accident.
- Acted for a cut timber supplier in an appeal against a ruling by the Health and Safety Executive arising from an amputation accident.
Rollits LLP has a strong regulatory defence practice under Jennifer Sewell and George Coyle, which owner-managed businesses and corporate clients engage in health and safety investigations and disputes. Recent matters include representing agriculture, pet food and consumer goods companies in investigations arising from fatal accidents including electrocutions.
‘They had great knowledge about health and safety law when questions were asked.‘
‘I worked with Jennifer Sewell who was very knowledgeable and patient. This helped tremendously during a particularly difficult time that our company was going through.‘
rradar attracts engagements from insurer clients to act for policyholders in health and safety investigations and prosecutions. Recent matters for practice head Matthew Coles and solicitors Jeff Swales and Andrew Cameron (all based in Hull) include investigations into asbestos, drownings, serious injuries and fatal fire incidents.
‘What makes this team unique is their understanding of the indemnity arrangements for the clients and their ability to identify where the client can benefit from this. Because of such arrangements the firm attracts a wide variety of work which is often complex and heavyweight regulatory work, which improves the strength and breadth of the team.‘
‘The team has a progressive approach to the delivery of legal solutions to clients to better fit with their needs and demands. Company clients will find the firm can provide legal solutions for all aspects of their business. Their versatile approach utilises face-to-face, multimedia and digital platforms to provide quick, reliable solutions for a client’s business needs with no unnecessary delay. The firm provides modern dynamic working environments mirroring progressive businesses rather than traditional law firm models.‘
‘Matthew Coles is client focused. Never settles for just a solution but finds the best solution. ‘
‘Jeff Swales is very experienced and very good with clients.‘
Larkbury Group t/a the Sofa & Chair Company
The Blackpool Pier Company Ltd
Adventure Parc Snowdonia
Mid-Cheshire Pallets Ltd
- Representing The Fremantle Trust in a prosecution for multiple food safety and hygiene offences at a residential home.
- Represented Larkbury Group — a manufacturer and retailer of furniture — in a health and safety prosecution after an employee was injured following a fall in a warehouse.
- Representing The Blackpool Pier Company in an investigation and prosecution following the release of asbestos on a major structure.