A concrete manufacturer has been fined £1m after a 24-year-old man died at a site in Nottingham.
Stewart Ramsay, from Mansfield, was working for Creagh Concrete Products Ltd (CCP) at its Thurgarton Lane site in Hoveringham when he suffered fatal head injuries on 15 March 2017.
Mr Ramsay, known as ‘Stew’, was trying to fix a problem that happened as he and colleagues were using a metal grab to unload Spantherm, a concrete building product, from some trailers. The metal grab shouldn’t have been in use.
Mr Ramsay’s head became trapped in the jaws of the grab after a rope connected to the locking lever snapped.
Even though the rope was tied in a double-knot, the locking mechanism released the jaws of the grab as Mr Ramsay pulled on it, causing fatal injuries.
Stew’s mother Carol Hansford described him as a ‘one in a million son’.
“I know a lot of people say that, but he really was out of this world,” she said.
“He was an amazing brother, grandson, uncle and nephew.
“The hundreds of friends that came to the crematorium showed how well liked and appreciated he was – it was unbelievable.
“He was just loving, caring, thoughtful and very funny.”
CCP were sentenced at Nottinghamshire Crown Court on 5 April, after they admitted failing to ensure its employees carried out lifting operations safely and without training and information being in place.
“He was such a hardworking person,” Carol added.
“Not only did he work at Creagh, he also working as a doorman on weekends.
“I’ll never forgot that day as long as I live.
“I got a knock at the door as his friends had come to tell me – I collapsed.
“It still doesn’t seem real – it’s like you’re watching a film and not at the end.
“All he did was go to work.
“Things like this shouldn’t happen – it destroys families forever,
“Nobody should have to go through what we have done these past six years.”
An investigation by the Health and Safety executive (HSE) showed that CCP did not have a safe system of work for the use of the grab and had not carried out a risk assessment to identify risks for its use. Both the grab and a fork lift truck being used at the time were in poor condition. Neither should have been in service at the time of the incident. CCP had failed to ensure that these pieces of work equipment had been maintained in an efficient state, efficient working order or in good repair.
Creagh Concrete Products Limited of Hoveringham Nottinghamshire pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in that it failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees. The company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £47,521.08.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Mr Amandip Dhanda said: ”This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man.
“Stewart’s death could easily have been prevented if his employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place.
“The work equipment being used at the time of the incident should not have been in use, and the employer would have known this had they effectively followed their own health and safety systems.”
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 place specific duties on employers to ensure the health and safety and welfare of their employees, as well as having procedures in place to maintain equipment in a safe condition.
Creagh Concrete Products Limited failed to take the necessary steps to protect Stewart Ramsay and his colleagues, which is a breach of their legal duty of care. Clearly, there was a major breach of safety, including failure to implement a safe system of work or identify the hazards associated with the work. If these had been put in place and effectively communicated to those completing the work, it is likely that Stewart Ramsey would be alive today.
The £1m fine imposed by the court is a significant penalty, that reflects the severity of the company’s failures and the harm caused.
We urge similar companies to review their health and safety systems including, policies, procedures, risk assessments and other documentation, ensuring compliance with the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. It is also imperative that safe systems of work are communicated to employees along with the provision of appropriate training, ensuring that they can work safely and without risk to their safety and health.
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