A worker suffered fatal head injuries when he was struck by a steel barrier while carrying out maintenance on a machine.

On the 20 May 2008, a 55 year old worker suffered fatal head injuries when the heavy steel fabrication barrier fell on him while carrying out repairs on a rubber-mixing machine.

An Investigation by the HSE revealed the barrier had been stored vertically and unsecured against rubber compound powder containers. The court heard the firm failed to assess the risks and implement a suitable and sufficient safe system of work for the maintenance of the mixer.

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard Cannon Automotive Limited did not supervise, manage, monitor, audit or review its arrangements regarding maintenance operations on the mixer to ensure they met the health and safety standards. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,100.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Neil Fry said:

“This tragic death was utterly preventable. Poor standards and failure to keep working environments in a good condition are a major cause of these types of incidents and also occupational diseases.

“Maintenance is a process that affects every aspect of safety and health and when a tragedy such as this occurs it demonstrates the importance of planning when carrying out maintenance work.