Two firms fined £500k over fatal employee accident

Two firms from Barry in Wales have been ordered to pay more than £500,000 between them after an employee lost his life in a work accident.

Christopher Booker, 49, died after falling twelve metres from a platform during maintenance work at Aberthaw Power Station in June 2007. He fell through an unprotected opening, a major safety hazard that Cardiff Crown Court ruled his employers should have been aware of.

The owner of the power station, the energy company RWE npower Plc., was fined a total of £250,000, along with contractor AMEC Group Ltd which also received a fine of £200,000. The two companies were also ordered to split court costs of £60,000 between them. It is presumed that the two firms will fall back on their employers’ liability insurance in order to cover these substantial costs.

Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones ruled that Mr Booker’s death could have been avoided had the firms taken the proper health and safety measures. RWE npower claimed that there had been a “misunderstanding” between the two firms over who was responsible for safety measures, but Judge Llewellyn-Jones said:

“That misunderstanding should never have occurred, and because it did, you have to accept the responsibility of breaching the health and safety that led to the death of Christopher Booker.”

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