Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

November 16, 2015

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Court hears how worker was fatally crushed by machine

A Wrexham firm has been ordered to pay over £200,000 following the death of a worker in December 2012, who was crushed by a machine weighing an estimated half a tonne.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the lifting operation being undertaken was unsafe and the worker was not properly trained in lifting non-standard loads.

Chester Crown Court heard that Christopher Williams, a maintenance supervisor at Morgan Technical Ceramics Limited, was moving a power press that was stored in a shipping container in the yard behind the factory.

He was moving the press on a pallet truck when it toppled over, striking the 51-year-old, causing fatal injuries to his chest.

On sentencing Judge Rhys Rowlands rejected claims from the company that Mr Williams had been sufficiently trained in loading and unloading heavy or unusual loads.

The firm had conceded that although a system was in place for such work, it had not been “adequately communicated” to all staff.

Morgan Technical Ceramics Limited, of Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, was fined a total of £180,000, and ordered to pay £23,300 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Katherine Walker said: “Thirty per cent of fatal accidents in manufacturing in Great Britain involve the fall of a heavy item. It is important that everyone involved in maintenance understands the risks and lifts are properly planned by a competent person.”

Following sentencing Mr Williams’ family said they hoped lessons had been learned from the tragedy and nobody ever has to go through the pain they have endured.

They added that it had been a long three years and the “big hole” left by the father-of-five, who also had two grandchildren, would never be filled.

Morgan Technical Ceramics Ltd, said: “The company regret most sincerely the death of Mr Williams. Everyone has been affected by the incident and outcome.”

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