Company Fined £150,000 Over Death

Worker Killed By Falling Object

06.10.2009

A shotblasting company has been fined £150,000 after a member of its staff was crushed to death by an unsecured metal plate at work.

Nigel Harrison, a spraypainter at North Kent Shotblasting in Northfleet, died on October 20, 2006, when the 975kg plate fell on top of him.

The company was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaches of section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was also ordered to pay costs of £24,000.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the firm. David Fussell, HSE Inspector, said: "The fatal injuries to Mr Harrison were easily preventable, and the incident came about through a combination of events, which included the reliance on a fatally flawed system of work and the company's complete lack of control over employee's safety.

"If North Kent Shotblasting Ltd had carried out an assessment of the risks when working in close proximity to the heavy metal plates, and carried out the cheap and simple safety requirements that were subsequently implemented after the issuing of Prohibition and Improvement Notices, then this incident could have been avoided."

He added that the HSE would not tolerate employers exposing their employees to unacceptable risks at work.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this tragic fatal accident at work.  Death or injury caused by falls or falling objects remain a major source of injury and death following a work accident.

“All too often, following a fatal accident at work, employers take steps which could and should have been taken prior to the accident and which would have prevented the fatal accident in the first place. This is of course a tragedy.”

If you have lost a loved one due to an accident at work, our serious injury compensation solicitors could help you claim compensation to help get the answers you deserve. For more information visit our fatal accident claims or workplace accident claims page.