Shopping centre firm in the dock after falling panel kills passer-by - Health + Safety at Work

Elaine Knutt

A trading arm of property giant Cushman and Wakefield is to be charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act after maintenance failings on a Wolverhampton shopping centre led to the death of a 29 year old woman.

Cushman and Wakefield Debenham Tie Leung is to appear in court on Thursday, April 4 to face charges under Section 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the act.

Tahnie Martin, a university worker, died outside Wolverhampton’s Mander Centre on 23 February 2017 after a wooden tank cover, dislodged in high winds, fell six storeys from the roof of the building.

It struck her on the head, causing fatal injuries. Two colleagues who were with Martin at the time were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

An inquest held in August 2017 concluded that a lack of maintenance contributed to Martin's death.

Jurors heard that three clasps that attached the lid to a redundant water tank on the roof were "rotten and weather-damaged", allowing the lid to come away in strong winds.


The panel was “blown around like a piece of paper” for up for 20 seconds


The wooden cover was part of a plant area that had been disused for around 20 years.

The jury heard that the panel was “blown around like a piece of paper” for up for 20 seconds, and that around 21 people had been in the vicinity at the time of the accident.

After the inquest, the coroner sent a “prevention of future deaths” report to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, to highlight that there is currently no requirement for surveyors undertaking a survey to point out that some areas of buildings may not have been accessed.

A spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council said: "City of Wolverhampton Council can confirm that we are proceeding with legal action against the then building management company of the Mander Centre  – Cushman and Wakefield Debenham Tie Leung Limited – with an offence contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

“The particulars being that on and before 23 February 2017, the defendant, being an employer, failed to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment who might be affected thereby, including Tahnie Martin, were not thereby exposed to risks to their health and safety arising in connection with the maintenance of the exterior of the Blackrock Building, including the structures upon it contrary to Section 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act."

HSNZRuth Cuzner