Firm fined £80k after death of workman

A COLCHESTER builders' merchants has been fined £80,000 after it admitted breaching health and safety laws following the death of a man working at a warehouse.

A COLCHESTER builders' merchants has been fined £80,000 after it admitted breaching health and safety laws following the death of a man working at a warehouse.

Brian Lampe, 68, died at Colchester General Hospital, 18 days after he fell 9ft from a suspended floor he was helping to dismantle.

Known as Bob, he was working as a subcontractor at Kent Blaxill's site in Clare Road, Kirby Cross, near Frinton-on-Sea, on December 30, 2003, when he fell onto a hard concrete floor.

Kent Blaxill had already pleaded guilty to breaching Health and Safety regulations by failing to ensure that someone not in their employment was exposed to safety risks.

The company, a well-known supplier for builders and decorators, was fined and also ordered to pay £6,000 costs at Basildon Crown Court yesterday.

In delivering the sentence, Recorder Shaun Murphy said despite the company's good health and safety record, the fine was correct.

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He said: “The company pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, it fully complied with the health and safety investigation and has an unblemished record in 170 years of trading.

“This was not a deliberate breach of the law to help the profits of the company.”

Speaking afterwards, Matthew Tackling, of the Health and Safety Executive, said the sentence was satisfactory and highlighted the importance of health and safety in the workplace.

He said: “We are glad the judge saw fit to sentence the company to that amount as health and safety in the workplace is paramount.

“A small act could save someone's life. Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of loss of life in the industry and they can be one of the smallest to control.”

A spokesman for Kent Blaxill last night said: “Kent Blaxill offers its condolences to the family of Mr Bob Lampe, who died whilst working for a subcontractor at the company's Kirby Cross branch in 2003.

“Due to an ongoing civil action we are unable to comment further.”

The court had heard the company contracted Michael Heinsen, 54,, a former employee of the firm, now trading as Multi-Man, to carry out work at its premises in December 2003.

After Mr Heinsen asked him to help out on the job, Mr Lampe, from Wavring Avenue in Kirby Cross, had agreed to the work as they were good friends.

Mr Heinsen himself faced one charge of failing to ensure Mr Lampe's health and safety under the 1974 Health and Safety Act. He denied the charges.

But after the jury failed to reach a verdict, the recorder ordered a formal verdict of not guilty, and the father-of-three was free to leave the court.

Afterwards Mr Heinsen declined to comment.

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

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