Firm Fined Over Winemaker's Death

Falling Objects Claim

05.08.2010

A distribution company has been fined £200,000 after the owner of a Cornish vineyard died when a delivery of empty wine bottles crashed onto him.

Truro Crown Court heard that the incident occurred in April 2008 when George Musgrave was helping unload the bottles from a lorry at his Polmassick vineyard at St Ewe, near St Austell.

The load fell from the tail lift of the Gregory Distribution lorry, which was being driven by an agency driver, causing fatal head and chest injuries.

Gregory Distribution Ltd, of North Park, North Tawnton, had admitted breaching health and safety regulations at an earlier hearing before Bodmin Magistrates.

As well as the fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £16,993.

Health and Safety Executive inspector, Simon Jones, said: "This tragic accident highlights the dangers involved in unloading large and heavy loads using a tail lift.

"Employers should ensure that employees are given the right equipment, information, instruction and training to allow them to unload loads safely."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

David Urpeth at Law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this tragic fatal accident at work. Falls from height and injuries caused by falling objects remain a worrying cause of both serious and fatal injuries. With a correct assessment of the risks and the provision of suitable work equipment, the tragedy is that this work accident could have been avoided.”