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Companies fined £320,000 following death of contractor

Date:
29 January 2013

Steel manufacturer Tata Steel and a specialist contractor have been fined a total of £320,000 for safety failings after a worker was killed by a falling metal bar in Redcar.

Kristian Lee Norris, 29, from Middlesbrough, was working for Vesuvius UK Limited to re-line a steelmaking furnace at Teesside Cast Products at the time of the fatal incident on 12 April 2008.

He was hit on the head by a two foot long metal bar that fell approximately 10 metres from a passenger and goods lift overhead.

Teesside Crown Court heard today (29 January) that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that adequate precautions were not in place to control the risks from falling tools or other materials.

This was a failing on the part of both Mr Norris’ employer, Vesuvius, and Tata Steel UK Limited, which then owned Teesside Cast Products. Both defendants were aware of the problems but allowed the work to continue.

Vesuvius UK Limited, of Midland Way, Central Park, Barlborough, Lincolnshire, and Tata Steel UK Limited, of 30 Millbank, London, both pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 10(1), of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Vesuvius UK Limited was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,020. Tata Steel UK Limited was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,020.

After sentencing, HSE Inspector Richard Bulmer, said:

"Kristian’s tragic death may have been prevented had Vesuvius UK Limited and Tata Steel UK Limited made simple and adequate provisions to protect employees working beneath work and lift platforms.

"The risks associated with work at height are well known, as are the necessary safeguards. Yet on this occasion the precautions taken to prevent objects from falling were wholly insufficient and sorely lacking."

For more information about working safely at height visit www.hse.gov.uk/falls

Notes to editors

  1. Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 10(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, states: Every employer shall, where necessary to prevent injury to any person, take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any material or object.

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