Brother of accident victim finds his body in machine…
Two companies have been hit with fines and costs in excess of £450,000 after a factory worker in Stockport discovered the dead body of his brother inside a machine on 12 January 2008.
The 38-year-old accident victim had been working with a machine that was used to manufacture bridges for military purposes.
The investigation into his death found that he was killed by a large hyraulic ram which inflicted massive head injuries while he was leaning over a part of the machine to examine some faulty switches. His brother who also worked at the factory was the first to arrive at the scene.
The firm which designed the bridge-building machine was prosecuted for failing to comply with European safety standards as the machine should not have been accessible while running at full speed. The company, based in the Netherlands, was fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in addition to prosecution costs of £28,313.
The factory owner that employed the man who died was also prosecuted for failing to ensure a safe system of work was in place for their employees especially when there using high-powered machinery. The fine imposed in this instance was also £200,000 with costs of £28,074. T
he sister of the victim commented after the hearing:
“Lessons have been learnt from this tragedy and we hope no other family will have to suffer the pain and trauma of losing a loved one in the way we have.
“The verdict at the inquest was accidental death. However, this accident was preventable. Today has confirmed that Brian should have come home from work that day.”
HSE Inspector Philip Strickland added:
“This was a tragic death which could have been avoided if both the machine manufacturer and the factory owner had put more thought into the safety of the people using the machine.
“The machine manufacturer should not have supplied a machine which fell below accepted standards and did not have suitable guards and safety systems installed to protect workers. The factory owner should have made sure its employees only fixed faults when the machine was in a safe state.
“It simply should not have been possible to access dangerous parts of the machine while it was still operating, but both companies allowed this to happen.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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