Death at Work – Fine of £1.4 Million

Tata Steel UK Limited  (a steel producer) was were punished with a fine of £1.4 Million in February 2018 after the death at work of a 26-year-old maintenance electrician [TS].

Hull Crown Court heard how, on 23 April 2010, TS (an employee of Tata Steel) was examining a crane as part of his inspection duties as a maintenance electrician. Whilst carrying out this work, an overhead crane travelled over the cage he was in, trapping and then crushing him. TS died instantly.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Tata Steel had failed to enforce its own safety procedures, despite having two previous incidents before TS’s death. The HSE investigation also found Tata Steel failed to put in place essential control measures which would have prevented the overhead crane that killed TS from even being in operation.

Tata Steel UK Limited of Millbank, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was given a fine of £1.4 million along with costs of £140,000.

The fine is large, but the effect on the family is impossible for others to comprehend. Speaking after the hearing, a member of TS’s family said:

“T’s death has devastated us as a family. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t think about him. We miss him always, especially on family occasions when he should be with us. He was well loved by everyone who knew him, and had lots of friends. Every day we think about what might have been if he had still been here. We would like to thank, once again, all those who have helped and supported us over the course of the last eight years. It means a great deal to us.”

HSE principal inspector Kirsty Storer commented:

“This tragic loss of life could have been avoided had the company adhered to and enforced its own safety procedures. Despite two previous incidents sharing features with the one which ultimately cost Mr Standerline his life, the company failed both to take these as a warning sign and to act on safety recommendations.”

To avoid such tragedies: Carry out good quality (meaningful) Risk Assessments and introduce Active Monitoring of the effectiveness of the Control Measures identified. Investigate any weaknesses or failures and improve the system.

Nobody wants to have a death at work. All too frequently, the simple steps to prevent a death at work are neglected.

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