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Firm rapped as Leeds worker killed by giant glass pane

Post Time:Jul 08,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:455

An office manager was killed when a huge pane of glass weighing 1.8 tonnes fell on top of him.
An inquest in Leeds heard Alan Fletcher died when a wooden crate containing industrial glass toppled and crushed him as it was unloaded at Roadway Container Logistics Ltd (RCL), Valley Farm Way, Stourton, Leeds.

The jury returned a narrative verdict, saying inadequate safety procedures, lack of training and failure to monitor company policy had played a part in the 59-year-old father's death.

Mr Fletcher, who had worked for the firm for 20 years, was watching workmates unload the glass – destined for the city's tallest building Bridgewater Place.

He was office-based and had never unloaded containers but had asked to observe the operation.

When the final, largest crate – 6ft 9in high and less than 12ins wide at its base – started to topple, he positioned himself in front of it in a bid to stop it falling.

Its enormous weight made that impossible and he was crushed.

Mr Fletcher, of Belle Isle, Leeds, was pronounced dead at the scene just after 12.15pm on April 6 2006.

In a police statement read to the jury, Peter Bedford, who was supervising the operation, said he also tried to hold the glass steady.

"I said to Alan, 'come out Alan' and tried to hold the crate. Alan didn't get out in time. I looked round and Alan was under the crate."

RCL workers told the inquest they usually unloaded cartons weighing up to 25kg and were "uneasy" about the glass shipment because it was so different and was a complex lifting task of which they had no previous experience.

Mr Bedford, now retired, said he believed they unloaded the container as safely as possible and blamed the accident on the "haphazard" way the crates were packed.

The firm that packed them said it expected professionals, experienced in lifting such items, to be handling the panes.

Tony Hoyland, a former government inspector in mechanical engineering, told the inquest there were failings at the firm which "indicated a lack of knowledge or disregard for procedures".

"The evidence I have seen indicates that when RCL tendered for the contract they didn't have sufficient experience and knowledge to do the work."

Ian Simkin, for RCL, said the firm had evaluated the risks and carried out the process with due care and attention.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation into the accident is ongoing.

 The glass was destined for Bridgewater Place, Leeds

Source: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.ukAuthor: shangyi

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