Construction firm fined after worker crushed to death

PUBLISHED: 09:32 17 September 2013 | UPDATED: 09:32 17 September 2013

A CONSTRUCTION firm has been fined £125,000 after one of their workers was crushed to death by a falling metal mast.

Construction engineer Nigel Sewell, 57, from Eaton Ford, St Neots, died as a result of his injuries following the incident at Universal Builders Supply, in Wireless Station Park, Kneesworth on September 19 2011.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which brought the prosecution for safety breaches against Mr Sewell’s employer.

During a trial at Peterborough Crown Court the jury was told Mr Sewell was part of a four man team assembling a tri-mast, which came in three sections. One of the sections didn’t fit in properly, so a fork lift truck was used to push it into place. As the driver of the machine did this, the two other mast sections, each weighing about a tonne, toppled onto Mr Sewell.

Universal Builders Supply Ltd was fined £125,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 costs after being found guilty of three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work act.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Graham Tompkins, said:“The loss of Mr Sewell was devastating for his family and friends and is made even more incomprehensible by the fact that it was completely avoidable.

“This tragic death could have been prevented had simple safety measures been thought through and put in place. Universal Builders Supply Ltd failed to plan the work properly, to provide appropriate instruction and to ensure there was competent supervision of the operation.”

Following Mr Sewell’s death, friends described the keen angler as a “true gentleman” who “enjoyed the finer things in life.”

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