Fatality at food firm costs construction firms £286k

A fatality at a food distribution centre has cost two construction firms more than £286k

Two construction firms – Premier Roofing Systems Ltd and A-Lift Crane Hire Ltd – have been ordered to pay more than £286,000 last month (June 29), after a fatality at a food distribution centre.

A-lift Crane employee Peter Smith fell 8m  through an unprotected skylight on a job that Premier Roofing was carrying out at Virani Foods in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire in August 2013. He died as a result of his injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that preventative measures to allow operatives to work safely on the roof – such as roof boards ­– were not put in place.

During the prosecution at Northamptonshire Crown Court, judge Rupert Mayo, sentencing, said: “It is immediately apparent that there was a muddle as to ensuring the appropriate equipment, training and instructions were provided to Mr Smith.

‘There was a muddle’

“Premier knew the access tower had not been handed over and that the Yeoman boards ordered by them would not be on site.

“A-Lift should have scoped this properly during a visit to the site on the 7th August. In simple terms, no employee should have been allowed up there until the Yeoman boards were available.”

There was no suggestion anyone at Virani Foods acted inappropriately.

Premier Roofing Systems, of Corby, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £140,250 and ordered to pay costs of £41,428.

Pleaded guilty

A-Lift Crane Hire of Wilby, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £83,300 and ordered to pay costs of £21,500.

Meanwhile, provisional annual data for work-related fatal accidents in Great Britain’s workplaces has been released today (July 7).

While the rate of fatalities had fallen by more than halve over the last 20 years, provisional figures show that 144 people were killed while at work in 2015/2016 – up from 142 in 2014/5.

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