Company fined £1m after worker died

A building company, Cemex UK Operations Limited, has been fined after an employee died from being struck by a centering machine lifting mast.

On 13 May 2017, James Brownlie was carrying out maintenance and repair work on a dry sided conveyor in Scotland. Part of the conveyor ran under a centering machine. At the time, the machine was not isolated and the light beam between the reflector and the sensor’s emitter was interrupted by part of Mr Brownlie’s body. This activated the machine’s lifting mast and lead to its descend. The mast struck Mr Brownlie, causing severe internal injuries which resulted in his death not longer after.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that the company failed to isolate the centering machine prior to the conveyor’s maintenance and repair work.

Cemex UK Operations Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33 (1) (a) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974. Livingston Sheriff Court fined the company £1,000,000.

Deaths such as these are often preventable, granted that proper health and safety actions are taken by the employer. Cemex UK Operations Limited should have ensured that the centering machine was isolated before allowing any maintenance and repair work.

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