Firm fined after worker's death crash

A POTATO firm was fined £30,000 for breaching health and safety legislation as a result of one of its workers dying in a car crash after working 76 hours in four days,Mark Fiebig, 21 from Soham, had worked four 19-hour days - starting early in the morning and finishing late at night, Cambridge Crown Court was told yesterday.

A POTATO firm was fined £30,000 for breaching health and safety legislation as a result of one of its workers dying in a car crash after working 76 hours in four days,

Mark Fiebig, 21 from Soham, had worked four 19-hour days - starting early in the morning and finishing late at night, Cambridge Crown Court was told yesterday.

He died when his car drifted into the path of an oncoming lorry near Ely as he drove home from work in October 2002.

The court heard that Mr Fiebig was thought to be suffering from "chronic fatigue" and had fallen asleep at the wheel.


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The Produce Connection, which is based in Chittering, Cambridgeshire, was also ordered to pay £24,000 costs after admitting two breaches of health and safety law.

Judge Gareth Hawksworth said the company had failed to properly monitor the hours its employees were working.

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The case is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK because The Produce Connection admitted breaching health and safety legislation even though Mr Fiebig died outside working hours.

Prosecutor Pascal Bates said Mr Fiebig, who lived with his parents, had worked 11 days without a day off prior to his fatal crash, which happened on the A10.

During that time he had worked on average 17 hours a day and was getting three to four hours' sleep a night.

Mr Bates said other staff were working similarly long hours.

“He started early in the morning and finished late at night,” said Mr Bates. “He was suffering from chronic fatigue.”

He added: “Workers were paid by the hour. For payroll purposes a daily note was kept of each worker's working hours. (The farm manager) had to be aware, and so did other management.”

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