Company admits failings after ladder tragedy

A COMPANY has admitted breaking health and safety regulations following the death of an electrician.

Dutch firm Bergwerff Numansdorp appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with contravening the Health and Safety at Work Act and a Work at Height regulation.

Robert Schmelter, 42, from Poland, died after falling from a ladder and striking his head on a concrete floor while carrying out work at Anchor Storage Ltd in Kenton, near Debenham, on October 1, 2007.

Matthew Taylor, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive, said self-employed Mr Schmelter had slipped. He was taken to hospital and later died from his injuries.

“It was a serious breach of duty on behalf of the defendant company,” Mr Taylor said.

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He said there was a serious risk of danger in respect to falls from height.

“They fell well below the reasonable standard because there was a complete failure in proper planning for suitable edge protection and to have in place suitable equipment for the employees to work with.”

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He added how the whole installation involving Mr Schmelter was ill-prepared and therefore it was not a single failure, “but a failure throughout the installation works”.

The case is going to Ipswich Crown Court for sentence.

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