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Preston building firm sentenced over cinema death

Date:
6 March 2014

A Preston-based building firm has been fined £130,000 over the death of a worker outside a cinema in Ashton-on-Ribble.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted EMC Contracts Ltd after father-of-one Carl Green was struck by a reversing van in a paved area outside the entrance to the Odeon Cinema on 27 July 2010.

The 45-year-old painter from Chorley had been working on a project to fit out a new coffee shop in the cinema when the incident happened. He died from his injuries on the way to hospital

During an eight-day-trial, Preston Crown Court was told EMC Contracts had been hired for a five-week project to fit a coffee shop in the foyer area of the cinema, on Port Way in Ashton-on-Ribble.

One of EMC’s employees had unloaded his van of construction materials and was reversing it to park up outside the cinema when it struck Mr Green, who was crossing behind it.

An HSE investigation found the company did not have any control measures in place to keep vehicles involved in the construction work away from pedestrians outside the cinema. As a result, both workers and members of the public had been put in danger.

The company had written a method statement for the work, which identified the risk of pedestrians being injured by vehicles as a main hazard. However, they failed to state what measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk.

Emma Prescott, the mother of Mr Green’s daughter, Morgan, said:

“Our daughter was seven when Carl lost his life, and it continues to have a huge effect on her. Fathers’ Day, Christmas and Carl’s birthday are very difficult times.

“She should be doing all the lovely things children do with their dads but she can’t. Both our lives have been turned upside down and they will never be the same again.”

EMC Contracts Ltd, which has been put into voluntary liquidation, was found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company, of Faraday Court in Fulwood, was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,790 in prosecution costs on 5 March 2014.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Susan Ritchie said:

“Carl Green tragically lost his life because the company that employed him didn’t fulfil its responsibilities to ensure his health and safety.

“The work at the cinema was carried out during the school holidays – at a time when children and their parents would have been watching the summer blockbusters.

“Despite this, EMC did not take any action to ensure its vehicles operated safely on the paved area in front of the cinema, therefore putting members of the public and its own employees in danger.

“There were numerous measures the company could have implemented to either eliminate or reduce the risk of collision, such as prohibiting vehicles from reversing or avoiding using its vehicles outside the cinema entrance altogether.

“These measures could have been implemented with little cost but the company still failed to act. As a result, a man lost his life.”

Information on how to prevent injuries involving workplace transport is available at www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport.

Notes to Editors

  1. The 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. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  3. Section 3(1) states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

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