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CLIENT/PC AND CONTRACTOR ERRORS END IN MEWP FATALITY

Mobile elevating platform fatal overturn triggered by uncovered recess

Cladding contractor, O. Turner Insulation Ltd and PC / client Clegg Food Projects Ltd have been prosecuted after a workman died when the MEWP he was operating drove into an “unprotected pit” during construction of a Leicester food processing plant in April 2008.

Martin McMenemy, 52, was using the scissor lift to install wall and ceiling panels it entered the “shallow uncovered recess”. The vehicle overturned and Mr McMenemy was thrown to the ground causing fatal head injuries.

HSE investigators found that the two companies failed to take simple precautions to cover the hole. Leicester Crown Court heard (24 August 2012) that the incident could have been prevented had the hole been covered with a metal plate or cordoned off.

Companies failed to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried

O. Turner Insulation Ltd, of  Grimsby, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(2) and 37(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £22,500 with £12,806 costs.

Clegg Food Projects Ltd, of Nottingham, admitted breaching Regulations 22(1)(a) and 37(6) of the same Regulations and was fined £22,500 with £12,674 costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Stephen Farthing said:

“This was an entirely preventable tragedy. A family has been left without a father because simple precautions were not taken to eliminate what was an obvious hazard.

Both companies had a duty to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried out under their control, but failed in that duty.”

Comment

The Sentencing Guidelines concern sentencing following work related deaths under Corporate Manslaughter and Health and Safety law. The guidelines apply to the sentencing of organisations for offences after Monday 15 February 2010 with fine levels for Health and Safety offences starting at £100k.

The offences in this case occurred before that date which may partly explain why the fines imposed were significantly below £100,000 indicated by guidelines.

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