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FATAL FALL FROM PLATFORM ATTRACTS £2.2 FINE

Judge declares ‘common sense’ not ‘guidance’ needed to spot danger

It has been reported by the Bucks Free Press that Decco Ltd has been fined a massive £2.2 million following what the judge described as the “breathtaking” failure to recognise hazards which led to the death of an employee at their premises in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 2014.

The company construction and industrial supplies division provides a wide range of fasteners, fixings, ironmongery, power and hand tools plus personal protection equipment.

William Richardson suffered fatal brain injuries when he fell eight feet from a wet, wooden unguarded platform at premises. It was revealed to the court that spring-loaded gates designed to protect the platform edge were badly worn.

The court heard that Mr Richardson was unloading pallets when he slipped on the wet wooden platform floor and fell onto a concrete floor below. He died following an eight-day coma.

System wholly inadequate and disaster waiting to happen

The company admitted two breaches of the Health & Safety Act at an earlier magistrates court hearing in March. The company was fine £2.2 million. The fine was reduced from £3.3 million because of the early guilty plea.

In passing sentence Judge Sheridan said:

“The design was a Heath Robinson do-it-yourself contraption, in my view. The whole of the edge was unguarded which was simply disgraceful. This was an obvious danger. With or without safety advice, it would be idiotic to proceed without having regard to that.

One doesn’t need guidance, one just needs a modicum of common sense to realise this system was wholly inadequate and a disaster waiting to happen. Those responsible for this company should hang their heads in shame at the failings that led to a man’s death.”

James Ageros QC, for the company said Decco Ltd had no previous health and safety convictions in 80 years trading. The company had gone “the extra mile” to ensure compliance and proper standards after the accident.

 

 

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