Halesowen firm fined after death of worker

THE world’s largest producer of adhesives and chemicals for the construction industry has been fined more than £173,000 for failing to ensure the safety of employees after an Oldbury man was killed when he was hit by a reversing lorry at its Halesowen base.

Forklift truck driver Andrew Davies died instantly from head injuries while carrying out maintenance work at Mapei Ltd, Coombes Wood Business Park, Steel Park Road.

The death of the 42-year-old, of Traders Road, devastated his family and Judge Mark Eades said: "This was a tragedy that caused untold misery to many people and his loss was deeply felt."

The judge said Mr Davies was killed because there was no-one in a supervisory position in the firm's yard to ensure traffic flowed in a way that was safe at all time.

It was a significant failure, he ruled, that fell "well below relevant standards" adding: "No-one applied their minds to the very obvious dangers."

The risk was foreseeable, said the judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court who concluded: "It was incumbent on those who ran the yard to set up a system to obviate risks and in this case nothing had been done."

The Italian-owned company admitted two charges under Health and Safety legislation of failing to ensure pedestrians and vehicles were kept separate.

The judge fined the firm £173,332 and ordered it to pay costs, which are expected to be in excess of £80,000.

Jonathan Salmon, prosecuting, said Mr Davies was working in the yard in July 2010 on a task he had completed many times in the past when he was hit by the reversing lorry There were no markings in the yard and no system was in place to control the movement of all vehicles, he told the court.

James Leonard, defending, said steps had now been taken to ensure there were proper safety measures were in place and there was someone marshalling traffic in the yard.

He said the firm, which had no previous convictions, deeply regretted the loss of a much valued employee while maintaining it had not failed to heed warnings in the past.

"It was not an accident waiting to happen," added Mr Leonard.

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