Newmarket: Firm fined after worker crushed to death by glass on first day

A SUFFOLK-based firm has been fined �80,000 after a worker was crushed to death beneath stacks of glass on his first day at work.

Lithuanian-born Vitalijus Orlovas, 29, was unloading sheets of glass from a shipping container at the Newmarket-based Arken PoP’s site in St Neots when they fell on him during his first day at work in August 2008.

He died at the scene as a result of crush injuries.

Arken PoP Ltd, based in Studlands Park Avenue, Newmarket, specialises in point of purchase displays for many retail sectors.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incident on August 18, 2008.

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Mr Orlovas was living in Peterborough at the time of his death and had just started his new job that morning.

At a previous hearing at Peterborough Crown Court, the firm admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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This morning at Peterborough Crown Court the company was fined �80,000 and ordered to pay �16,914 costs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the company did not have adequate arrangements in place to unload the glass safely when the incident happened.

Inspector David Head said: “The tragic death of this young man should never have happened.

“Arken PoP did not carry out their legal duty to ensure the health and safety of people that were working for them - and the result was this horrific incident.

“This was a hazardous manual handling job which involved unloading several large sheets of glass, each of which weighed more than 100kg.

“It should have been planned properly and staff should have been fully trained in what to do. If there had been a safe system of work for this job this tragic death may not have happened.”

Tracey Scutt, managing director of Arken, said: “Arken sincerely regrets the tragic death of Mr Orlovas and we would like to express our deepest sympathy to Mr Orlovas’ family.

“We completely accept the judgement and have fully cooperated with the HSE at all stages of the enquiry.

“Since this tragic incident, Arken has completed a full review of all manual handling procedures and reinforced this with extensive manual handling training.”

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