20 November 2007
Company pays out after breaches of safety
Two north-east firms have been prosecuted after an incident in which one worker died and another was seriously injured.
As a result of the accident, housebuilding firm George Wimpey was fined £300,000 at a hearing at Teesside Crown Court, while A W Cowan was made to pay more than £20,000.
The injuries were sustained in 2004 when an unsupported trench collapsed on two workers.
Neil Dunstan died as a result of his injuries, while his colleague Karl Buck sustained serious injuries and was in hospital for several weeks.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Michael Brown stated that the incident could easily have been prevented if appropriate safety measures had been taken.
He added: "Trench collapses are entirely avoidable. Without suitable support, any vertical face of an excavation will collapse; it's just a matter of when.
"Excavation work has to be properly planned, managed, supervised and carried out to prevent accidents."