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Companies fined £87,000 for fall fatality

Two companies, Krypton Health Construction Ltd and Controlled Flame Boilers Ltd , today received fines totalling £87,000 in the Central Criminal Court, London. The prosecution, brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), followed its investigation into the death of pipe fitting engineer Mr Robert Burchett.

On 10 April 2002 Mr Burchett, aged 40, sustained fatal injuries following a fall of nine metres from an unprotected edge on the site of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, where an operating theatre was being built.

The HSE had alleged that both companies had failed in their duty of care towards Mr Burchett by exposing him to risks to his safety.
The HSE also claimed that the job, which was a fairly routine boiler lift and installation, was neither properly planned nor supervised. And that the method statement did not adequately address the risks involved.

Both companies pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Controlled flame boilers also pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 6 of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 which relates to preventing persons from falling.

Inspector Giles Meredith, from HSE’s Construction Division who investigated the fatality said:

“My investigation into the circumstances of Mr Burchett’s death revealed serious failures by both companies in respect of their duties under health and safety law. A fairly standard construction site activity – lifting a boiler into place – was neither properly planned nor supervised. The method statement that was produced came nowhere near to adequately addressing the risks involved. There was nothing in place to prevent Mr Burchett falling from the building in question. The risks of working at height and lifting are both well understood and well known in the construction industry and yet still more workers die in this manner than from any other construction activity. If we are to reverse this then the industry must wake up and do more at every level.”

Krypton Health was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay costs to HSE of £5,000. Controlled Flame boilers was fined £52,000 and ordered to pay costs to HSE of £8,000.