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WORKMAN CRUSHED BY FALLING GRANITE SLABS

Death prompted safety alert over safe handling and storage of slabs

Stone Company UK Ltd  has been prosecuted after a workman was crushed between a bundle of 11 slabs (weighing approximately 3 tonnes) and the wall of a building.

Workman Martin Rice, 57, was unloading a delivery of manufactured stone and placing it on storage A-frames in a warehouse when the incident occurred near Chelmsford on 28 April 2009. The father-of-four died of his injuries at the scene.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard (3 July) HSE investigators found the company operated an unsafe system of work for handling and storing stone slabs. The A-frames in use were poorly sited and inappropriate within the confines of the warehouse.

Tragedy could have been avoided by simple modifications

The Stone Company UK Ltd, of Manor Farm, Sanford Mill Lane, Great Baddow, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £40,000.

In February 2010 following the death and other similar incidents HSE issued a safety alert on the handling and storage of large sheet stone slabs. 

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Richard Rajham, said:

“A family has had their lives devastated by this tragic incident.

The system of work for handling slabs of stone was dangerous, and Martin’s death could have been avoided with some simple modifications to the layout of the storage area and to the storage equipment being used.

It is vital that work of this nature is carefully planned and monitored, and that employee safety is of paramount importance at all times.”

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