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HSE Prosecutes Employer Over Crush Death

Action Follows After Elderly Worker Killed By Falling Gates


An employer has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an incident in which one of his staff was killed by a gate that came off its hinges and fell on him.

Retired fitter Malcolm Macdonald Kennedy, aged 69, was carrying out work on a casual basis for Alistair Thomas Corrie, trading as Corrie Skip Hire, in Kilmarnock, when the incident happened in December 2011.

Mr Kennedy had arrived at the firm's premises at the Loreny Industrial Estate at 07:00 GMT on the morning of the incident and opened a set of double gates when one of them, weighing 180 kg, broke free and fell on him. His arrival was filmed by CCTV, although not the actual incident.

It was an hour later before the next employee reached the scene, found Mr Kennedy under the gate and called an ambulance. Despite attempts at resuscitation, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

An HSE investigation found the gates were faulty. They had originally been installed along with the gateposts in 2003, but extra hinges had been welded onto the posts and packed with washers at a later date, which had destabilised them.

The HSE also found the gate had been catching on the ground before the incident. This suggested Mr Kennedy may have had to lift it slightly to open it, causing the top hinge to lift off the post. As washers were being used, there were no devices such as caps or split pins to hold the hinges in place and stop the gate coming loose.

Mr Corrie pleaded guilty in the hearing at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £20,000.
Commenting after the case, HSE inspector Lesley Hammond remarked: "Employers have a duty to provide and maintain a safe means of access and egress for their employees.  

"The tragic death of Mr Kennedy could easily have been prevented had the gates been installed and maintained properly.  Unfortunately, this failing led to the loss of Mr Kennedy's life."

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