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Contractors fined over hangar death

A CROWN Court judge last week ordered contractors involved in a fatal accident at John Lennon Airport in Liverpool to pay fines and costs of almost £80,000.

A construction worker died in the accident in 2000 when a steel aircraft hangar door fell on him.

The penalties set at Liverpool Crown Court conclude a high profile prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

It had initially also charged structural engineer Andrew Allan, the hangar's designer, with infringement of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations.

But the HSE withdrew its case against Allan (NCE 13 May).

Both contractors involved in the hangar project pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act.

Specialist steel erector Gareth Michael Pugh, operating as Gareth Pugh Steel Framed Buildings from Powys, was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £23,165 costs.

Pugh's employee Ian Cavender died from injuries sustained when the hangar door fell. It had been wheeled into an unsupported position.

Main contractor Primary Design & Build, also of Powys, was fined £9,900 for failing to protect workers not directly in its employment.

The fine was cut from £15,000 because of the firm's limited ability to pay. It recently went into liquidation after insurance premiums were increased.

After the hearing last week HSE inspector Roger Hodkinson said that 'those on site did not have a clear idea of how the hangar doors were to be safely erected.'

An ad hoc system of work had led to the accident, he said.

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