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Firm Fined £140k After Man Crushed

Man Crushed To Death At Industrial Estate



The company which employed a worker who was crushed to death at an industrial estate has been fined £140,000.

TS (UK) Ltd was accused of putting "profits before safety" after cleaner Abel Lages was killed when two 1,375kg pallets fell on him.

The 38-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene at the plastics factory on the Stakehill Industrial Estate in Middleton, Greater Manchester, despite "frantic" attempts to rescue and revive him.

Mark Savill, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, told Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester that staff at the firm had reported 15 near misses when pallets had toppled over.

They were being stacked on top of each other because of a lack of space in the goods yard.

At the time of the accident, on July 15, 2005, the firm had a £16.5m turnover, employing 75 staff and had undergone rapid expansion but had virtually no health and safety practices in operation, the court heard.

And there was a culture of fear amongst staff to "get on with it" otherwise they would lose their job.

The Italian owned company was at the time being run by Luca Sabbatini as the Managing Director, who knew the family who owned the company.

Health and Safety consultants were brought in and spoken to, but when handed paperwork from them Mr Sabbatini told a colleague: "We are not paying that!" and threw the documents in the bin.

TS (UK) Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE for failing to ensure the safety of its employees, and not having a worker trained in First Aid on duty.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this horrific fatal accident.  It is clear that this work accident could and should have been avoided. All too often, I have to help workers pursue their compensation claim following injuries sustained in an accident at work, the circumstances of which could so easily have been avoided.”

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