Corus fined £240,000 after lorry driver crushed

Multinational steel maker, Corus, has been fined £240,000 after a lorry driver was crushed to death at its site in Staffordshire.
The firm was prosecuted by the HSE after three tonnes of steel plates fell on Ross Beddow, at the firm’s base in Wombourne.

Corus (UK) Ltd was also ordered to pay £112,500 costs at Stafford Crown Court, on 14 April 2010, after it pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 .

The court heard how on 4 January 2007, Mr Beddow, who was employed by A Hingley Transport Ltd, was helping to load steel plates on to a lorry. A Corus employee was operating a crane to lift a three-tonne pack of steel from a trailer; however, the load was not level, and as it was lifted it fell on top of Mr Beddow and killed him.

An HSE investigation showed the system of work for loading steel was unsafe. Not all the individual tasks involved had been evaluated and there was scope for misunderstanding between workers.

HSE Inspector, Dr Wai-Kin Liu, said:

“This was a tragedy that could and should have been avoided. All the steps involved in an overall task should be analysed to create a safe system of work, and the consequences of something going wrong should always be taken into account.

“Anyone can make errors – no matter how well trained and motivated they are – but employers must develop a safe way of working that helps to prevent mistakes and reduces the severity of the consequences if they do occur. If Corus had a safe system of working then Mr Beddow would not have been killed simply doing his job.”

Mr Charles Feeny, defending Corus, said the firm wished to apologise to Mr Beddow’s family.

He said:

“Corus believed that the system was reasonably safe and they had good grounds to think that. They had carried out risk assessments. They had a system of work that had been in operation for many years.”