Yacht manufacturer fined £600,0000 following serious accident

Luxury yacht manufacturer, Princess Yacht Limited, faces a £600,000 fine following a workplace incident at its Plymouth shipyard, resulting in life-changing injuries for one of its workers.

Mark Gillen endured a series of injuries, including 12 broken ribs and a severed right arm, when a staging platform weighing around one tonne collapsed, landing on him.

Having worked for 26 years to the company, the 54-year-old also experienced brain bleeds and an extended hospital stay lasting several months.

Mark Gillian

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was determined that the platform’s collapse was caused by one of the front wheels striking a depression in the concrete surface.

The incident occurred on November 9, 2021, while Mr Gillen and his team were working on a 72-foot vessel at the company’s Southyard site.

The HSE investigation found a failure to assess risks when manually moving staging platforms in the yard. Identifying uneven ground as a hazard was overlooked.

To mitigate risks, manual movement could have been prohibited, and external transfers done using forklift trucks.

Princess Yacht Limited in Plymouth pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 2(1). The company was fined £600,000 with additional costs of £9,146.

HSE inspector Paul Mannell said: “Mark Gillen is lucky to be alive. The company should have had measures in place to ensure that mobile staging was never pushed through the yard by hand. As the measures taken post-accident clearly show, it would have been reasonably practicable to have had them in place when Mr Gillen was injured.

“They were implemented immediately after the accident at no cost to the company. The failure to have in place a safe system of work resulted in a life-changing injury to a loyal employee who had worked for the company for 26 years.”

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