After a mechanical engineering apprenticeship at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), Richard Booth was promoted to Research Engineer in 1964 studying vehicle safety and durability. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Safety and Health at Aston University in 1972 and received his Chair in 1978. He was elected Professor Emeritus in 2007.

Richard was for many years a part-time safety adviser to a small construction (refractory engineering) company, also Group Safety Adviser for Smith & Nephew (Europe) and the Unilever Group (world-wide). He was, until 2006, one of two Independent Safety, Health and Environment Advisers to Transport for London and a member of the TfL Board’s Safety, Health and Environment Committee. He has published about 150 scientific papers, articles and book chapters and presented in 17 countries world-wide. He has been awarded the Viscount Weir Prize from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for research on metal fatigue, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

He has carried out extensive research covering, for example, machinery safety, component and structural integrity, safety culture, human factors, design, development and effectiveness of health & safety management systems including a review of safety audit systems, regulatory compliance regimes, accident investigation methodologies, safety and health practitioner competencies, and accident costing (embracing the criteria for reasonable practicability).

Richard’s Expert Witness cases from 2004

Bond Pearce acting for HSE: prosecution of Corus UK Ltd (HSW Act sections 2 & 3) following the explosion of Port Talbot Blast Furnace No 5, a COMAH site, in 2001 (2004-2006);

Frisby’s acting for HSE: prosecution of AMEC and Shell (HSW Act sections 2 & 3 respectively) following a fatal accident in 2005 on an offshore gas installation. The deceased fell while carrying out maintenance work at height (2007-2008);

The claimants: a civil case involving the failure of the new owners of a warehouse, containing flammable and toxic substances, to comply with the terms of purchase. The defendants as a counter-claim argued that safety arrangements were at the time of sale wholly inadequate (2008);

DLA Piper acting for Total UK Ltd: HSW Act sections 2 & 3) prosecutions by the Competent Authority (HSE) following the explosion at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot in December 2005 (2009-2010);

Berryman, acting for the defendant: prosecution under PUWER of a food company following a major-injury accident when a person was trapped by moving machinery (2009);

DLA Piper acting for Biolab UK Ltd: Water Resources Act and COMAH prosecution by the Competent Authority (Environment Agency) following the explosion at Biolab’s swimming pool treatment premises in 2006. The explosion led to pollution of the adjacent river. The prosecution, following defence expert evidence, withdrew three out of their four COMAH charges (2010);

Shoosmiths acting for a food refinery: a civil case concerning the respective responsibilities of the client and a contractor for an explosion (2010);

Bond Pearce acting for HSE: prosecution of EPSCO Ltd under HSW Act section 2 following a drowning in a power station culvert (2011);

Shoosmiths acting for Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd (one of three defendants): a civil case following a fatal accident to a cherry picker operator; following defence expert evidence, the case against McAlpine was withdrawn (2012);

Addleshaw Goddard acting for Oldham MBC: civil cases involving safety defects in the Council’s swimming pool and library areas in a leisure centre complex associated with poor quality construction work by a contractor (two cases: 2012 & 2013);

Lawsons acting for the claimant: a civil case following an accident to a gas fitter injured by a skip that overturned on the premises of KPH (Plant Hire) Ltd (2012-2013);
Woodfines acting for the two defendants: gross negligence manslaughter charges following a fatal accident to an HGV driver (2013);

DWF acting for Star Autos Ltd (one of four defendants): a civil case following a fatal accident to a lorry-mounted crane driver whose load struck an 11kV overhead line at a music festival (2013);

Morton Fraser acting for the claimants: a civil case against EPSCO Ltd and E.ON UK Plc following a drowning in a power station culvert – see above (2013);
An LLP: two cases acting for the defendants (HSW Act section 2) involving prosecutions following fatal accidents at work (2013).

Mills and Reeve acting for a safety adviser (one of two defendants): a civil case following a serious accident on a construction site. Following expert advice, the case against the adviser was withdrawn (2011);

Andersons acting for an abattoir: prospective prosecution following a fatal accident in a refrigeration unit (2012);

FBC Manby Bowdler acting for the claimant: a civil case following a serious accident in a night club (2012);

Richard Booth

Professor Richard Booth


PhD, FIMechE, CEng, CFIOSH Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner, Director

Summary of cases pre-2004

Two civil cases in the USA following power press accidents; a civil case following a fall through a trap door at a theatre during refurbishment work; a civil case against ‘Private Eye following a fatal fall from a scaffold during repairs on the M6 motorway; report for the coroner following a fatal injury to an operator of a roof-mounted mobile window cleaning equipment (DP trapped between the machine and a ventilation duct); adjudication report on the hazards of ejected car parts falling onto the adjacent premises from a fragmentiser machine; adjudication report associated with industrial action as a result of wheels falling off ambulances in Devon; civil case involving an abattoir worker who received serious lacerations when dismembering beef cattle; fatal accident associated with entanglement on the shaft of a vertical milling machine.