Work accident compensation - County Durham firm fined GBP 100k after accident at work

A County Durham engineering firm has been fined GBP 100,000 after an accident at work resulted in the death of an employee.

Paul Clark, 52, a multi-skilled fitter at Tallent Automotive Ltd-Gestamp Automocion (formerly ThyssenKrupp Tallent Ltd), was crushed to death in the incident in July 2009 while clearing a jam on a production line.

Durham Crown Court heard that Mr Clark had opened interlocking safety gates to gain access within a fenced enclosure to a carriage which had jammed on its tracks.

While working on the equipment between the tracks, the machine moved suddenly and trapped Mr Clark between the carriage and the support structure at the end of the tracks. He died as a result of traumatic asphyxia due to crush injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no safe system for carrying out work within the area as the pneumatic power for the machinery was not isolated before entering the interlocked enclosure.

HSE inspector Martin Baillie said Mr Clark’s death could have been prevented had the company put a safe system of work in place.

A company in Scotland was recently ordered to pay a fine of GBP 112,500 after a member of staff was killed when he was crushed between the rollers of a potato harvester.

Posted by Wayne Weir

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