Firm is fined over death of steelworker

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A SOUTH Yorkshire firm has been ordered to pay £142,000 in fines and costs for serious safety breaches after a worker was crushed to death by a one and a half tonne steel girder.

Steelworker John Mott, aged 47, who had worked in the steel industry since leaving school, suffered fatal injuries in the incident at the Bespoke Precast plant in Whaley Road, Barnsley, on March 30, 2009.

Sheffield Crown Court heard he was moving an overhead travelling crane from an area of the factory where it had been supporting the eight and a half metre long girder.

As he moved it, a clamp attached to the crane hook snagged on the girder causing it to topple and fall, crushing Mr Mott against the floor.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation showed the crane used to support steel girders during fabrication work was frequently needed elsewhere in the factory to carry out heavy lifting operations.

It was common practice for workers to move the crane.

Bespoke Precast Ltd, registered at Bardon Hall, Copt Oak Road, Markfield, Leicestershire, was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £42,471 costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The firm no longer operates from the Whaley Road site in Barnsley.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Alison Crank said: “John Mott’s death was a preventable tragedy and his wife and family continue to struggle to come to terms with their loss.

“As he was moving the crane, a beam clamp used to attach girders snagged and caused this horrific incident.”

He added a risk assessment would have prevented the girder becoming unstable and falling off the bench.

There were five deaths and more than 550 major injuries in the manufacturing sector in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2010/11.