East Ayrshire council fined £56,000 following death of worker

An electrician employed by East Ayrshire Council died because of failings of his employer, a court heard.

At a hearing at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, on 16 June, 2010, East Ayrshire Council pled guilty to a charge under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £56,000 the following day.

The Court heard how Robert McGill, 35, suffered fatal injuries when he fell from a mobile elevated work platform, known as an airlift, that he and a colleague had been using in the gym of Kilmarnock Academy, Elmbank Drive, Kilmarnock to fix overhead lights on 6 April 2009.

The platform had been fully extended and Mr McGill had been in the basket at the top of the airlift when it was moved around the gym. The airlift became unstable and he fell to the ground and later died from his injuries.

Mr McGill and his work colleague had not received any training on how to use the airlift. In particular they had not been told it should never be moved when there is a person working in it, and that stabilisers should be properly attached to it when in use.

Speaking after the court hearing, HSE Inspector Barry Baker said:

“This was a tragic incident which highlights once again the very real risks of working at height and the consequences of failing to take reasonable safety precautions. More than 4,000 employees suffered a major injury as a result of a fall from height in 2008/09 showing that it should be properly planned and assessed, adequately supervised and employees given enough training to allow them to work safely. The consequences of failing to do this are frequently serious and in this case, sadly, were fatal.