Freight company prosecuted by HSE following death of worker

Monday, 23rd Jun '08 at 08:35

Following the death of an employee, in March 2006, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) pursued a prosecution against Berser International Cargo Services Ltd for alleged breaches of health and safety at work legislation.

Legal proceedings were brought after Mr Martyn Simm (45), a lorry-driving employee, was killed when a sliding metal gate weighing 0.4tonnes (8cwt) fell onto him as he was closing it, on the company’s site in Chesterton,Newcastle-under-Lyme.

At Stafford Crown Court (on Monday 2nd June,2008) Berser International Cargo Services Ltd, was fined £22,000 with costs of £18,000 having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge brought by HSE under Regulation 5(1) of the Workplace Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations 1992.

The company had admitted breaching health and safety legislation, by failing to ‘maintain equipment and devices (including the access gates to the premises) in efficient working order and in good repair'.

HSE inspector Rachel Bradshaw said:

"Basic maintenance of equipment is often ignored by employers and lives are put at risk as a result. There was a very obvious defect on this gate that a simple visual check would have identified. A few moments work and simple modifications would have prevented this tragedy from occurring."

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