Firms fined after man crushed to death by giant heating pipe in Sheffield

The EON Renewable Energy Plant  on Alsing Road near Meadowhall in Sheffield (photo: Google)
The EON Renewable Energy Plant on Alsing Road near Meadowhall in Sheffield (photo: Google)
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Two firms have been fined £2 million after a man was crushed to death by a heating pipe while working in Sheffield.

David Beresford was working in the EON Renewable Energy Plant at Blackburn Meadows on Alsing Road in Sheffield when the tragic accident happened.

The 36-year-old was one of two workers unloading large heating pipes, which were 12 metres long and weighed around 840kg, from a trailer to be placed into containers at the site near Meadowhall.

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Two of the pipes rolled off while they were being placed in position that day, December 10, 2015, and they fell into a gap between two containers where Mr Beresford was standing. The second pipe fell onto him, killing him.

The Health and Safety Executive, which investigated the tragedy, found that the pipes were being moved using an excavator and had been incorrectly stacked above the top edge of the stillage containers.

The watchdog said Mr Beresford's death was 'wholly avoidable' had proper safety procedures been followed.

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Mr Beresford was employed at the time by RK Civil Engineers, of The Chancery, in Spring Gardens, Manchester.

The firm was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1 million.

RK District Heating, of The Manor House, on Ecclesall Road South, in Sheffield, was also found guilty of breaching the act and was fined the same amount.

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The judge also ordered the two defendants to between them pay costs of £15,847.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Welsh said: "This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of both companies to follow safe systems of work, and a failure to identify the risks.

"This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man. There was a lack of planning for the work carried out and, as a result, inadequate controls put in place."