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Firms fined millions after worker crushed by large heating pipes

23 April 2018

A civil engineering firm and a district heating firm were sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how on 10 December 2015 36-year-old David Beresford was employed by R K Civil Engineers Ltd working at the EON Renewable Energy Plant, Blackburn Meadows, Alsing Road, Sheffield.

He was one of two workers unloading large heating pipes (12 metres long and weighing approx. 840kg) from a trailer to place them into stillage containers at the site. The pipes were being lifted and moved using an excavator and were incorrectly stacked above the top edge of the stillages. During the positioning of the pipes, two of the pipes rolled off and fell into a gap between two stillages. Mr Beresford was standing within this gap and the second pipe fell onto him.

R K Civil Engineers Ltd of The Chancery, Spring Gardens, Manchester was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,000,000

R K District Heating Ltd of The Manor House, Eccleshall Road South, Sheffield was found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,000,000.

The Judge also ordered that costs of £15,847 are to be repaid. The arrangements will need to be agreed between the two defendants.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Welsh commented: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of both companies to follow safe systems of work, and a failure to identify the risks.

“This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man. There was a lack of planning for the work carried out and, as a result, inadequate controls put in place.”

 
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