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DUTCH CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED AFTER SITE DEATH

Failure to select the right equipment and plan work led to fatal ladder fall

A Dutch fumigation company operating in Suffolk, has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay over £21k in prosecution costs after a 42 year-old workman fell to his death from a ladder.

Robert Schmelter, an electrician from Poland, was engaged by the defendant to install two fumigation chambers at the premises of Anchorage Storage Ltd in Suffolk in October 2007. He was coming down a ladder when he fell and struck his head on the floor. The ladder fell on top of him. He was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries.

Work was not properly planned and supervised

HSE investigators found that the company had failed to properly plan and appropriately supervise this work at height and to ensure that it was carried out in a safe manner.

Bergwerff Numansdrop BV, based in the Netherlands and operating as ECO2BV in the UK at the time of the fatal incident admitted breaching HSW Act Section 3 and and Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

HSE Inspector Nicola Surrey said:

“This sad death of a man should never have happened. Bergwerff Numansdrop BV did not carry out their legal duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees.

Falls from height are one of the most common, yet entirely preventable, causes of injury at work. In 2008/2009, more than 4,000 major injuries were caused by falls from height at work.

In this case, it was down to Bergwerff Numansdrop BV to make sure the work at height was planned, organised and carried out by competent persons and that the right work equipment and collective measures were selected to prevent falls.”

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