04 February 2013
Compensation claim may follow fatal accident
The family of a man who passed away during a fatal accident at work could decide to pursue a compensation settlement on his behalf.
Kristian Lee Norris died at the age of 29 in April 2008 from severe injuries he sustained in an incident while he worked for Vesuvius UK on a project to re-line a steelmaking furnace at premises owned by Teesside Cast Products in Redcar.
Mr Norris was hit with a metal bar measuring around two feet in length that had fallen a distance of around ten metres from a passenger and goods lift positioned above above where he was working.
An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that neither Vesuvius UK or Tata Steel UK - a global firm that owned Teesside Cast Products at the time of the accident - had put adequate safety provisions in place prior to this work beginning.
Due to the fact both companies had not created systems of work whereby the risks of falling tools and equipment were negated, Mr Norris was left exposed as he carried out his work.
During a subsequent case heard at Teesside Crown Court, it emerged that both Vesuvius and Tata - a company with more than 425,000 employees worldwide - were aware of this potential safety hazard but still allowed this project to continue.
Therefore, both Lincolnshire-based firm Vesuvius and Tata Steel UK admitted breaching regulation 10(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, with the former company being ordered to pay a fine of £200,000 and the latter penalised to the tune of £120,000.
As such, Mr Norris' family may now pursue civil damages from these organisations.
Richard Bulmer, inspector at the HSE, said this "tragic" incident could have been prevented if the two companies had made "simple and adequate provisions to protect employees working beneath work and lift platforms".
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Posted by Francesca Witney