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Firm fined after death on site

Hanson Building Products Ltd has been fined £280,000 after a worker was killed when his head was crushed between a metal platform and concrete blocks.

Peter Clarke, 57, who had been on the site for two weeks, was working next to a conveyor transferring groups of concrete blocks from a kiln to a packaging area at the firm’s distribution plant in Coleshill, Birmingham, on April 26, 2008.

The conveyor’s direction of travel was moved backwards and forwards to form sections of blocks into larger groups for packaging. Mr Clarke, from Bedworth, was standing next to a low bridge over the conveyor when he leaned forward to take blocks from the machine.

The operator’s view of the 30m conveyor was obscured and as it changed direction, Mr Clarke’s head was crushed between the concrete blocks and the metal platform.

Brick manufacturing company Hanson Building Products Ltd was fined £280,000 and ordered to pay costs of £29,204 at Warwick Crown Court.

“There were no safe systems of work for removing the blocks and the company failed to supervise Mr Clarke adequately,” said HSE inspector Peter Snelgrove. “The area where he was working was well known as a danger zone by other workers, but he had been on site for less than two weeks and nobody had told him about the risks.”

“Employers should understand that where failing standards in the workplace result in serious injury or death, HSE will prosecute.”

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