April 24, 2018

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£2m in fines after worker fatally crushed

A civil engineering contractor and a district heating firm have been fined £1 million each after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries.

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 approximately 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.

According to reports, Companies House records show R K Civil Engineers went into administration in June 2016 while R K District Heating went into liquidation in March 2017.

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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Douglas Cameron
Douglas Cameron

What happens in the event of liquidation and administration. .. presumably in one no revenue available and the other one depends of value and creditors ?

Ian Wightman
Ian Wightman

Were EON the client for this project & if so surely they bear some responsibility ?. Also noting that both companies have went into liquidation it’s unlikely any fines will be paid but surely the directors & those involved should be held culpable ?.