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NEWS: Firms fined £3.8m after worker killed by falling concrete panel

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Two subsidiaries of Laing O’Rourke have been fined a total of £3.8m after a worker was killed by a falling concrete panel at the Explore Way factory in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.


Nottingham Crown Court heard how Richard Reddish, an employee of Explore Manufacturing Ltd, had been working in the finishing area on 8 July 2014 when he was crushed by the 11 tonnes load.

The court heard how he had been working in the basket of a mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) to remove the lifting attachments from the top of a concrete panel, which was stored on a transport pallet.

The panel started to topple and struck the MEWP, throwing him from it. It also caused a number of other concrete panels to topple, one of which fell onto him.

The transport pallets were supplied by Select Plant Hire Company Ltd who shared responsibility for their maintenance with Explore Manufacturing Ltd, which owned the site where the incident happened on Explore way.

HSE found in its investigation that the frame used to secure the panel was not properly connected to the pallet, as it had not been secured properly with a locking pin.

Pallets were also in a poor condition, missing support bearers and stabilising legs. Large freestanding concrete panels were stored in the finishing area, which should have been secured in storage racks, it was found.

Nottingham Crown Court. Photograph: wikimedia

Speaking after the hearing, investigating HSE inspector, Stuart Pilkington, said: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, whose death could easily have been prevented if the companies had acted following previous warnings to identify and manage the risks involved, maintain the equipment, and put a safe system of work in place.”

Explore Manufacturing Limited, of Dartford, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. It was fined £2million and plus £13,922 in costs.

Select Plant Hire Company Limited, of the same address, pleaded guilty breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 for failures to properly maintain the transport pallets. The company was fined £1.8million and ordered to pay costs of £13,922.

In a statement published on the Nottingham Post, Laing O’Rourke's health and safety director John Green commented: "The company would like to express its profound regret and sorrow to the family and friends of Richard Reddish, who tragically died at work in July 2014, and our thoughts remain with them.

"Having entered a guilty plea and accepted responsibility from the outset, we respect the court’s decision.

"No incident such as this should ever occur. We have learnt significant lessons and implemented changes to our operations to continually improve the safety of our working environment.”

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