February 5, 2018

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In court

Tata Steel fined £1.4m after death of worker

Steel producer Tata Steel has been fined after the death of 26-year-old maintenance electrician Thomas Standerline.

Hull Crown Court was told how, on 23 April 2010, Mr Standerline, an employee of Tata Steel, was examining a crane as part of his inspection duties when an overhead crane travelled over the cage he was in, trapping and then crushing him. Mr Standerline died instantly.

Previous incidents

The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation found that Tata Steel had failed to enforce its own safety procedures, despite having two previous incidents before Mr Standerline’s death. The HSE also found Tata Steel failed to put in place essential control measures which would have prevented the overhead crane that killed Mr Standerline from even being in operation.

Tata Steel UK Limited of Millbank, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £1.4 million with costs of £140,000.

Failed to act

Speaking after the hearing, a member of Mr Standerline’s family said: “Thomas’s death has devastated us as a family. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t think about him. We miss him always, especially on family occasions when he should be with us. He was well loved by everyone who knew him, and had lots of friends.

“Every day we think about what might have been if he had still been here. We would like to thank, once again, all those who have helped and supported us over the course of the last eight years. It means a great deal to us.”

HSE principal inspector Kirsty Storer said: “This tragic loss of life could have been avoided had the company adhered to and enforced its own safety procedures.

“Despite two previous incidents sharing features with the one which ultimately cost Mr Standerline his life, the company failed both to take these as a warning sign and to act on safety recommendations.”

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