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    BREXIT EFFECT PLEA TEMPERS FINE OVER FATALITY

    Director argues leaving EU impacts on ability to pay penalty

    A Manchester tile supplier company has been fined almost £40,000 following the death of a warehouse worker who was trapped by an overturning fork lift truck in October 2010.

    Stone Superstore Ltd of Gorton was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday 12 July 2016. after pleading guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

    Mr Soran Aziz, aged 27, died when a crate containing approximately one tonne of stone floor tiles spilled from a forklift truck. Mr Aziz suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital two days after the incident.

    No formal FLT training

    Environmental Health Officers visited the site and found that the forklift truck driver who had spilled the tiles had not received formal training. The court also heard that although two forklift trucks were being used daily at the warehouse none of the company employees had received any formal training. Councillor Nigel Murphy of Manchester City Council said:

    “This heartbreaking case saw a young man lose his life and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Health and safety regulations are often sneered at but they exist for good reason – to prevent avoidable tragedies like this one.

    Stone Superstore Ltd pleaded guilty to two counts, one of a failure to adequately train, supervise and instruct staff and a further charge of a failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. The fine of £40,000 was awarded for the first count with no separate penalty being given for the second count.

    Judge aware of post Brexit fragility

    The Mail Online has reported that the prosecution sought a fine in the region of £250,000. However, a dossier was presented to the judge to support the defendant claim that the company would struggle financially in the wake of the EU referendum result.

    Judge David Stockdale QC imposed the £40,000 adding that he was entirely aware of the fragility of this company finances with regards to the recent referendum on the European Union. He added that systems were in place, but these were not sufficiently implemented or followed.

    The judge also heard that the owner monitored his employees for the first few weeks and claimed he did not think risk assessments were needed as his firm was so small.

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