“Firm fined after worker crushed to death” Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to the HSE, a ship repair and conversion company has been fined £98,500, after an A & P Tees Ltd employee died, after being crushed by an anchor, weighing almost three tonnes, falling on top of him at the dry dock at Teesport. (1)

Kevin Watson, 51, of Redcar, was one of three men working for A & P Tees Ltd on a sand dredger in the dry dock, when the incident happened on 11 February 2009. (1)

The accident was immediately investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the Hebburn-based firm for numerous health and safety failings. (1)

Teesside Crown Court heard how Mr. Watson, and his colleagues, were arranging anchors, so that they could lay out chains ready a quality inspection. Despite numerous attempts, My Watson and his colleagues were unable to get the starboard anchor to lie flat on the bottom of the dock; they decided to leave it an upright position while they worked on the chains. (1)

Once they returned to the anchor, Mr. Watson attempted to attach a chain to the anchor, hoping to manoeuvre it to a flat position with a chain sling; the anchor toppled towards the vessel, and crushed him. He died instantly, as a result of multiple crush injuries. (1)

The HSE investigation discovered that Mr Watson was only trained to operate a dockside portal crane; he had no formal qualifications in the lifting and slinging of loads. It was also apparent that Mr Watson had undertaken the ranging of anchors and chains before the fatal incident, despite his lack of training to do so. (1)

The investigation also discovered that Mr Watson’s two colleagues both had the required training to carry out the out lifting and slinging operations to move the anchor, but only one of them had carried out the task previously. (1)

Commenting on the accident, Thomas Fairclough, Asons Executive at Asons Solicitors stated that:

“Any compensation awarded, as a result of this accident, can’t make up for the loss it has caused; this horrific accident at work could have been easily avoided, had the correct health and safety measures been followed - in this case they weren’t”

A & P Tees Ltd, c/o A & P Tyne Ltd, of Wagonway Road, Hebburn, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000, and ordered to pay £23,500 in costs. (Court Reference: S10102013) (1)

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Victoria Wise said:

“Kevin Watson lost his life needlessly because of the failure by A & P Tees Ltd to put simple safety measures in place. (1)

“This was a tragedy that could have very easily been prevented if the company had assessed the risks and ensured a safe system of work was in place in relation to the task of ranging the anchors and chains. (1)

“Lifting operations can be dangerous and every year a significant number of people are injured or killed as a result. It is therefore vitally important to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place so that lifting operations are adequately planned and carried out in a safe manner.” (1)

Asons Solicitors suggest, that if someone would like to learn more about the consequences of an accident at work, or if they would like to better understand industrial diseases associated with the ship building, like vibration white finger and occupational deafness, that such information is available at http://www.asons.co.uk, or via an expert helpline on 01204 521 133.

(1)    Firm fined after worker crushed to death - http://press.hse.gov.uk/2013/firm-fined-after-worker-crushed-to-death/ - HSE November 2013

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About Asons Solicitors:

Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info(at)asons(dot)co.uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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Imran Akram
Asons Solicitors

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