A ROWLEY Regis firm has been fined £18,000 for failing to ensure the safety of its employees following the tragic death of worker Mitchell Pountney.

Mr Pountney, a father-of-one from Wassell Road, Wollescote, in Stourbridge, suffered horrific injuries in an industrial accident at Cutting Edge Trading Limited on September 2, 2019, and, despite the best efforts of medics, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dudley Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Poutney, aged 23, was fatally injured at the company site on Station Road during a lifting operation. The unsupported forks and carriage of a side-loader lift truck descended, crushing him while he was working underneath it.

An inquest, at Black Country Coroners' Court in September 2020, concluded his death was accidental.

However - an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company had failed to provide a safe system of work for unloading palletised goods using the side-loader forklift truck and on Wednesday (February 23) Cutting Edge Trading Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The firm, which manufactures MDF skirting board and architrave, door linings and plinth and architrave blocks, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,153 plus a surcharge of £181 to fund victim services.

HSE principal inspector Jenny Skeldon said after the sentencing hearing: “This tragic incident could have easily been prevented if this employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved and put a safe system of work in place.”

Cutting Edge Trading Limited has not yet responded to a request for a comment.

Mr Pountney was a keen Aston Villa fan and as a tribute shortly after his tragic death football fans held a minute's applause in the 23rd minute of a home game against West Ham.