Engineering firm fined over fatal employee accident

An engineering company from Newton Aycliffe in County Durham has been fined a total of £100,000 after health and safety breaches led to the death of an employee.

The firm, Thyssenkrup Tallent, was prosecuted after 52-year-old lead maintenance engineer Paul Clark died after being crushed by a machine. Although no one saw what happened, it is understood that Mr Clark was trying to clear a jam on a production line when the carriage moved suddenly and trapped him, causing him to lose his life.

After investigating the incident, officers from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that there was no safe system in place for carrying out the work Mr Clark was engaged in when he died. Their company did recognise the electrical hazards of the task but failed to assess the risks of working with pneumatically-operated equipment.

Mr Clark has also not been given the right health and safety training and information to help him operate the pneumatic supply properly and to make the right adjustments.

Commenting on the case, recorder Jamie Hill said:

“It was not a deliberate flouting of health and safety regulations, or a cutting of corners to maximise profit.
“Tallent has a well-developed health and safety department but, unfortunately, in this incident there was an oversight dating back all the way to the installation of that machinery.”