Merseyside firm fined for Westfield death

A MERSEYSIDE firm has been fined £30,000 after one of its employees died while working at the Westfield Shopping Centre in East London three years ago.

Knowsley-based Firesafe Installations, controlled by director Rodney Ritson, had a crew at the centre working at height on a scissor lift in December 2009 when 39-year-old Shaun Scurry of Kirkby became trapped between a guardrail and overhead ducting.

A colleague could not release him and bring him down because he did not know how to use the emergency controls.
Southwark Crown Court heard today that although Firesafe Installations could not be held directly accountable for the death, the company should have ensured staff knew how to operate the equipment they were using.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the fatality and established that training was inadequate. The company, based on Knowsley Industrial Park South, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £29,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE inspector Eileen Gascoigne said: “This tragic case underlines the importance of familiarisation training – not only for direct operatives, but also those who may be required to take control in the event of an emergency.

“There is clear HSE and industry guidance on what is expected of companies working with MEWPs (mobile elevated work platforms) in this regard, and the failing of Firesafe Installations Limited is a clear example of why it is so important.”