Celsa Maufacturing (UK) have been ordered to pay over £230,000 after an employee died following an horrific incident at its Cardiff based recycling plant.

John Penhalagan, 44, of Bridgend suffered fatal head injuries and later died in hospital, after he was struck by a crane hook weighing 3.7 tonnes used to convey ladles of molten steel in the firms new ‘melt’ shop on 30 May 2007.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that there was no mechanical defect with the crane, but the hooks were able to move at a dangerously low level, posing a huge safety threat to operators working on the ground.

In court facing prosecution by the HSE, the company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Cardiff Crown Court. It was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,294.38.

After sentencing, HSE inspector Stephen Jones said:
“This was a horrific incident – an extremely heavy, moving piece of equipment was able to strike Mr Penghalagan directly in the head because Celsa Manufacturing didn’t have safe systems of work in place.”

“The system of work did not enable crane operators at the site to clearly see employees working on the ground, putting them at serious risk of being struck by moving objects.

“Celsa should have put in place a thorough risk assessment and most importantly acted upon that assessment, given the generally hazardous nature of this type of operation – but sadly the plans in place were just not adequate and led to this man’s terrible death.”