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    FINE ‘CONVERTED’ INTO COMPENSATION ORDER

    Insurance dispute prompts Judge action in exceptional case

    Race Interiors Limited has been prosecuted after a 55-year-old employee fell through a roof skylight in January 2013

    Petros Pogosyan fell 4.5m to a concrete floor on a London Industrial Estate, London and suffered life changing injuries including a fractured back. He is now partially deaf, has damage to his brain, is paralysed from the waist down and psychologically traumatised.

    Southwark Crown Court heard that the Armenian national will need personal care for the rest of his life, and will never work again. His wife has given up work to care for him full-time. Since the incident the couple have been living on state benefits.

    Judge May QC described the accident as highly foreseeable, pointing out there was no protection to prevent a fall from or through the roof.

    She ruled that the company fell far short of the required standards for managing risks at work as the supervisor was not trained and there was a complete lack of planning with no risk assessment or method statement for the work.

    Tragedy should not have happened

    Race Interiors Limited appeared at and was fined £60,000 with costs of £7,784 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

    However, in a highly unusual move the fine was converted into a compensation order of £60,000 to be paid directly to Mr Pogosyan. The judge described this as “an exceptional case” as Race Interiors are in dispute with its insurance company and Mr Pogosyan is unlikely, if at all, to receive compensation for his injuries.

    HSE inspector Simon Hester said:

    “This tragedy should not have happened. Nobody should work on a roof without proper planning.

    “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent a fall. Mr Pogosyan could have been killed by his fall and now suffers massive and irreversible life-changing injuries.”

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