Welsh firms fined for fatal health and safety breach

Two firms have been ordered to pay more than £500,000 in compensation and court costs after a judge ruled that they were at least partly liable for the death of employee Christopher Booker, 49, at Aberthaw Power Station in June 2007.

Mr Booker, 49, was killed after he fell 12 feet from a platform to the ground. He fell through an unprotected opening, in an area that was inadequately lit.

Prior to the tragic incident, the company running the power station and the firm of contractors in charge of the project Mr Booker was working on were prosecuted for health and safety breaches. The cause of the accident was established in Cardiff Crown Court as the wrong choice of control measures, perhaps due to insufficient health and safety training on site.

Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones described the accident as foreseeable, and said:

“It was an accident waiting to happen and should have been spotted.”

The outcome of the case was that RWE Npower PLC, the owners of Aberthaw Power Station, received a fine of £250,000 and contractor firm AMEC was fined £200,000. The two firms split legal costs of £60,000 between them.