A heavy gate that came off its hinges and killed an elderly worker had been modified, a court has been told.
Additional hinges had been welded on to gateposts at the Loreny Industrial Estate in Kilmarnock, making the 180kg gates unstable, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard.
Crushed under the weight
Malcolm Macdonald Kennedy, 69, died after he was crushed under the weight of one of the gates, which fell on him when it became loose.
And it emerged that the gates had not been installed or maintained properly. The gates and gateposts were installed in 2003 but extra hinges had subsequently been put on and packed with metal washers.
Skip hire company manager Alistair Thomas Corrie, of East Netherton Street, Kilmarnock, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and received a fine of £20,000.
Accident compensation claim
Mr Kennedy, from Kilmarnock, was a retired fitter who had been employed on a casual basis by Mr Corrie when the work accident happened on December 12 2011.
The court heard that Mr Kennedy would regularly be the first to arrive at A Corrie Skip Hire and had his own set of keys to open the gates.
He was captured on CCTV arriving at 7am on the morning of the fatal incident but the accident itself was not picked up.
A fellow colleague called an ambulance when Mr Kennedy was found an hour later but, despite attempts by paramedics to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Could have been avoided
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation arrived at the conclusion that the gate had most likely caught on the ground as it was being opened by Mr Kennedy. This would have been enough to lift it up off the top of the hinge so that the gate fell on him.
HSE inspector Lesley Hammond called Mr Kennedy’s death a tragedy, adding that it could have easily been avoided if the gates had been properly installed and maintained.
How Accident Advice Helpline can help
Crush injuries can range from fatal to minor. Accident Advice Helpline can advise anyone who’s suffered a crush injury that wasn’t their fault on whether they have a chance of winning compensation.
Call the free, 24-hour helpline on 0800 689 0500 for more information.
Date Published: November 5, 2014
Author: David Brown