Oldham manufacturer fined over £100,000 after death of worker

by Redmans Solicitors on November 20, 2014

An Oldham manufacturing company has been ordered to pay over £100,000 in fines and costs after one of its employees was killed in a workplace accident.

Refinery Supplies Limited, a business specializing in the manufacturing of kettles for the zinc and lead smelting industries, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £125,000 by the Manchester Crown Court after one of its employees was killed in a workplace accident in July 2011.

Mr Michael Wickstead, who was 63 at the time of the accident, was working for the company on the Greengate Industrial Estate in Chadderton on 11 July 2011 when the accident occurred. On the day in question Mr Wickstead was working on a crane carrying a three-tonne piece of steel. As he was operating the crane another of the cranes on the site crashed into Mr Wickstead’s crane, causing the heavy piece of steel to fall from the crane and onto Mr Wickstead. Mr Wickstead sustained fatal crush injuries in this accident and was later pronounced dead.

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) was notified of the accident and subsequently investigated. This investigation found that Refinery Supplies Limited should have had a clear and safe system of work in place to avoid the potential for workers to be injured by moving cranes. A prosecution of the company was therefore recommended as it was believed there had been a breach of s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 – that the company hadn’t taken reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all its employees.

The case came to the Manchester Crown Court on 24 October 2014. Refinery Supplies Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was consequently fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £35,000.

HSE Inspector Helen Jones commented on the judgment: “Refinery Supplies knew there was a risk of cranes colliding at the factory and, in fact, this had happened on several previous occasions without the same catastrophic result. However, the firm failed to take any action to make sure workers weren’t put at risk of being injured.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “Employers have a responsibility for the health and safety of their employees and in this instance it was found by the court that the company had not done enough to prevent Mr Wickstead’s death.”

Redmans are no win no fee employment solicitor and are Chiswick employment solicitors

Redmans Solicitors

Redmans Solicitors

Commercial law, employment law and litigation firm based in Richmond, London
Redmans Solicitors

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