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DIRECTOR PROSECUTED AND FINED

Falling stack of MDF sheets kills young apprentice

Company director, Christopher John Pridmore, of Mansfield, Notts has been ordered to pay £10k in fines and prosecution costs for a breach of PUWER Reg 4(1) following the death of Simon Murphy a factory apprentice. Mr Murphy died when a stack of MDF boards fell onto him causing fatal head injuries.

HSE inspector Maureen Kingman said:”The boards were stored on top of a bench in the workshop and fell because a bracket that was intended to restrain them was not strong enough to support their weight. The bracket failed after only a week in use. Mr Pridmore neglected to provide safe arrangements for the storage of sheets of MDF boards. The bracket, which had been produced to Mr Pridmore’s design, posed inherent risk and its use as part of the storage system was ill-conceived.

Comment: In this case HSE decided to prosecute the director rather than the limited company. This probably due to his direct and personal involvement in the decisions that led to the collapse. HSE has published advice on safe stacking of board materials.

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