A Welsh company has been heavily fined after a worker died as a result of breaches of UK health and safety legislation.
Mr Ahmet Yakar, 52, was struck by heavy falling boxes whilst he was working for Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited in Swansea on 19 July 2011.
On the day in question Mr Yakar – who did not speak fluent English – was delivering boxes containing heavy machine parts (weighing up to half a ton each) to Morganite’s premises in Swansea. He arrived at Morganite’s delivery depot and was told to unload the boxes from the back of the lorry with a hand-operated pallet truck, whereupon they were transferred to a forklift truck. Whilst he was doing this, the boxes became unstable and the top box on the pile fell onto him, knocking him from the lorry. The rest of the boxes then fell onto Mr Yakar, trapping and crushing him. Efforts were made to free and revive him but were to no avail as he died at the scene.
The accident was notified to the Health and Safety Executive and an investigation was undertaken. This investigation found that there had potentially been serious health and safety breaches by Morganite. These potential breaches included:
- A failure to implement a safe system of work when unloading delivery vehicles to prevent injury to workers or third parties
- A failure to carry out a sufficient risk assessment for unloading at the site
- A failure to implement a policy for working with drivers who did not speak English as a first language
As a result of the breaches the Health and Safety Executive recommended that Morganite be prosecuted.
The case came to the Swansea Crown Court on 17 January 2014. Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited pleaded guilty to a breach each of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 199 and was fined £120,000 as well as being ordered to pay £16,021 costs.
HSE Inspector Steve Lewis stated after the hearing: “The company failed to provide their employees with suitable instructions and safe systems of work for accepting lorry deliveries to site. They should have taken responsibility for the driver’s safety and the delivery and unloading operation. Mr Yakar and his family in Turkey have paid the ultimate price for Morganite’s carelessness in this regard.”
Neither Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited nor their criminal defence solicitors appear to have commented after the court case.
Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “If businesses fail to implement proper health and safety procedures then they are liable to be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive, and particularly so where the failure results in injury or death for a worker.”
Redmans Solicitors are employment solicitors and help injured employees claim personal injury
Please note that Redmans Solicitors neither represented any party in this case, nor were they associated in any way with the case