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A Midlands based construction equipment hire company has been fined after a worker’s death.

Warwick Crown Court heard how 49-year-old Mark Seward had only been working for AGD Equipment Limited for 16 days when the fatal incident happened. The court heard how Mr Seward was testing a hydraulic cylinder when it cracked under pressure causing a piece of metal to strike Mr Seward violently in the head.

An HSE investigation found the company had failed to have adequate supervision in place for this task and they failed to inform Mr Seward of the safe working pressure for the cylinder he was testing. The investigation also found that AGD Equipment Limited also failed to have protective screens in place to prevent projectiles injuring staff. They also did not exclude other people from the test area.

AGD Equipment Limited of Masons Road, Stratford Enterprise Park, Stratford-Upon-Avon pleaded guilty of breaching regulation 12 (1) of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The company also pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company have been fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £28,711.

Mark’s wife Tracey Seward had this to say after the hearing: “I am heartbroken and angry that Mark could go to work for an employer, for AGD, and be killed because they took so little care of him. It is utterly shocking that this can happen even now. That a man who is only doing his best, working for the good and love of his family, can be so badly treated and let down and then AGD can show no remorse or care. Mark was and always will be the love of my life. A man just trying to get the best for his family, his life has ended because a company like AGD has no concern for the safety of their employees.”

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “This was a tragic incident that should never have occurred. It is a company’s obligation to provide a safe system of work for leak testing. This will include protecting people from flying fragments and high pressure oil leaks as well as providing thorough training in how to carry out the work safely.

Source – HSE

HSCS Scotland Promoting a Healthier Workplace Through Safety
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