A Granite manufacturer is given £60,000 penalty for crush death

A worker was crushed to death when stone slabs weighing more than three tonnes fell on him as he unloaded them from a lorry.

Martin Rice, 57, was working as a storeman at granite manufacturer The Stone Company UK Ltd’s warehouse in Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, when the incident took place on 28 April 2009.

He used an overhead gantry crane to unload a delivery of manufactured stone slabs and place them on storage A-frames inside the warehouse. Operating the crane via a hanging pendant control, Mr Rice lowered a bundle of 11 slabs, but they toppled and crushed him against the wall of the building. He died at the scene from crush injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found the A-frames were poorly sited, which meant Mr Rice was unable to stand a safe distance away when he lowered the load. HSE inspector Richard Rajham told SHP that the work wasn’t properly planed and the slabs weren’t safely secured on the A-frames.

He said: “The system of work for handling slabs of stone was dangerous, and Martin’s death could have been avoided with some simple modifications to the layout of the storage area and to the storage equipment being used.

“It is vital that work of this nature is carefully planned and monitored, and that employee safety is of paramount importance at all times.”

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