Engineering firm fined following death of child

Dumfries Sheriff Court

SPIE Limited has been fined £160,000 after a child was fatally injured after being trapped between an unsecured pole and fence.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that, on October 2017, an employee of SPIE Limited delivered an overhead power pole to a roadside verge adjacent to Mill Hill Medical Centre in Kelloholm. The pole was left unsecured at the top of an embankment and subsequently rolled down, trapping the 12-year-old between it and a fence causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted two distinct failings that led to the tragic incident. The HSE said that there was a failure to provide a safe system of work for the delivery and storage of poles to ensure they were secured to prevent rolling. Secondly, the HSE said that there was a failure to provide suitable training, information and instruction to ensure employees engaged in the task of delivering poles properly secured them so that they should not roll.

SPIE Limited of Gracechurch Street London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and was fined £160,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin McMahon said, “This terrible and tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a child. This death could easily have been prevented if the risks involved had been properly managed, through the provision of safe systems of work and suitable training of employees. Sadly however, that was not the case.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.”