"Excessive" Mick George fine is slashed on appeal

Mick George has had a £566,670 fine for breaching health and safety regulations reduced after the appeal court found it was manifestly excessive.

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of regulation 25(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 after a tipper vehicle struck an overhead power line (OPL). The driver was emptying a load of soil at a site in Northampton in 2016 when he pulled forward with the body raised and it touched, or came close to touching, the 33kV line.

The tipper vehicle suffered minor damage but the driver was unhurt.

Mick George had already identified the need for permanent protection structures, but after an initial delay only one was installed.

An HSE investigation showed that Mick George should have assessed the risks from OPLs more rigorously and realised its system of work was inadequate.

However, an appeal court hearing agreed with the appellant that the judge should have concluded that it was a harm Category 3 case, not harm Category 2 case, and that the starting point was manifestly excessive. An appeal court spokesman confirmed that as a result, the original fine was reduced to £334,000, to be paid within 12 months.

The HSE said that every year two people are killed and many more injured when mechanical plant and machinery comes into contact or close proximity with OPLs.

The firm declined to comment.

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Accidental death leads to £500,000 fine for north-east operator

A waste management company has been fined £500,000 after the death of an employee struck by a JCB loading shovel.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the vehicle was being reversed in June 2015 at Sanders Plant and Waste Management’s Morpeth site when it struck site operative George Richardson, who died at the scene.

The vehicle, driven by another employee, was loading waste into both a trammel and an HGV.

An HSE investigation found a lack of pedestrian and vehicle segregation at the site, meaning pedestrians and vehicles could not circulate safely.

The company had carried out a risk assessment and identified some control measures to reduce the risks, but these had not been fully implemented and were insufficient to manage the risk of collision.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £500,000 with costs of £14,042.

HSE inspector Laura Catterall said: “There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and sadly, some are fatal. A properly implemented transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to segregate people and vehicles and provide safe facilities.”

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