Two firms have been fined and an MD handed a suspended prison sentence after a worker died when 17 panes of glass fell from a lorry onto him.

Tawanda Chamwandayita suffered fatal crush injuries when the units of glass tumbled from a shipping container that was being unloaded at the site in Birmingham in October 2017.

The glass first fell against his leg, knocking him off the rear of the lorry where he fell to the ground and was then killed when approximately 17 glass panes fell on top of him.

A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and West Midlands Police found unloading was not properly planned, supervised or carried out safely.

The defendants had failed to assess the risk of workers falling from the lorry and the risk from large and unsecured items falling from the lorry onto workers while unloading.

The HSE said inexperienced and vulnerable workers, some of them just 17-years-old, were working in dangerous conditions with no supervision, inadequate equipment and without any planning or risk assessment in place.

Evergreen Construction (UK) was appointed as the principal contractor but it failed to take action to ensure the safety of the workers.

The client, Leyton Homes (Perry Barr), previously known as Hilux Developments Birmingham and Fast Item Residential, had engaged their own contractor to arrange the delivery and unloading of the container full of large and heavy items, including the glass.

The HSE said the principal contractor was on site but failed to do anything to ensure that the unloading operation was properly planned, appropriately supervised or carried out safely.

Leyton Homes was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £55,084.67 in costs at Birmingham Crown Court on 20 January.

Evergreen Construction was fined £115,000 and ordered to pay £52,561.96 in costs.

Leyton’s MD, Jalal Rana, was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £57,171.95 in costs.

HSE inspector Edward Fryer said: “This case highlights the importance of engaging competent contractors and making sure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

“Management arrangements need to be clear between clients, contractors and principal contractors so that health and safety arrangements can be properly planned, coordinated and implemented.

“All parties are required to ensure that safety arrangements are in place and followed. This was a wholly preventable incident which led to the death of Tawanda Chamwandayita in tragic circumstances.”