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Safety failings lead to workers death

A lack of safety standards resulted in the death of a worker at a warehouse in the West Midlands.
Roberts-Gordon Europe Ltd employed Ronald Meese as a production supervisor at its warehouse in Wednesbury, where he had worked for 34 years. The company makes equipment used in heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.
Mr Meese was operating a forklift truck to move bundles of steel heating tubes. The tubes were secured by bands and had previously been removed from a container by one of Mr Meese’s co-workers. Mr Meese was stacking these tubes in batches of 19, which weighed about 200kg, into piles of five stacks each.
Once five piles were in place, Mr Meese got out of the forklift truck and placed wooden slats down to separate the piles and give the next stack something to rest on.
When Mr Meese left the truck to place the next wooden slat, the pile collapsed on him, and he was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that the wooden slats being used by Roberts-Gordon were not of a standard size and the wood used was not monitored and controlled by the company. There was no racking to help support the stacked tubes nor anything to keep them in place, such as restraints.
Additionally, no risk assessment had been undertaken for this particular task and, although Mr Meese was trained to use a forklift truck, he had received no additional training.
Roberts-Gordon was fined £150,000 and had to pay over £33,000 in court costs. The HSE Inspector commented after the case that Mr Meese would still be alive today had basic safety precautions been implemented.Mr Meese’s tragic case highlights the importance of safeguarding employee safety. After all, no employee should be at risk of injury just for showing up to work.
If a member of your family has been fatally injured in an accident at work, speak to us. We are workplace injury lawyers and can give you the confidential, legal advice you need.
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