£1m fine over Scottish workplace death

£1m fine over Scottish workplace death

A United Kingdom company, Cemex Operations Limited, has been fined £1m over the death of a worker at a Scotland operation in May of 2017.

James Brownlie was carrying out routine maintenance at Cemex’s West Calder operations on a centering machine, which was not isolated at the time. Mr Brownlie’s body in the machine interrupted the machine’s sensors, triggering the machine’s lifting and lowering mechanism.

The machine struck Mr Brownlie, causing severe internal injuries, which he died from shortly after.

The ensuing investigation by the UK equivalent of WorkSafe, the Health and Safety Executive, found Cemex responsible for failing to isolate the machine before Mr Brownlie began his work.

Cemex UK Operations Limited, Evreux Way, Rugby pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 33 (1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and was fined £1,000,000.

Following the findings, HSE inspector Kim Ross said: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a man, which could have easily been prevented if had taken action to ensure the centering machine was isolated prior to the maintenance and repair work being carried out.

“If this had been in place before the incident, James Brownlie’s death could have been prevented.”

Comparatively, the largest fine handed down in Australia for WHS violations is $1.2 million. The fine handed down to Cemex is equivalent to more than $1.8 million AUD.

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