East Ayrshire Council has been fined £56,000 for failures in health and safety which led to the death of an engineer last year.
Robert McGill was killed on 2 April 2009. He was working at Kilmarnock Academy when his elevated lift collapsed. He fell several metres from the mobile platform, which was being moved at the time, and later died from his injuries.
Upon investigation, it was found that the electricians working for the council had received no formal training for the equipment. Sheriff Ireland also found that no risk assessment had been carried out prior to the accident, and there was no operations manual in place for the procedure.
Sheriff Ireland said: "The purpose of health and safety legislation and the creation of offences against health and safety best practice is to achieve a safe environment for all who work in any particular workplace and indeed for members of the public at large who might be affected. A public declaration of the utmost importance of appropriate health and safety procedures being in place in the work place is required to be made by the Court, in my opinion.”
Although the Sheriff stressed that the fine needed to be large enough to bring that message home, at the same time he was mindful of the fact that the employer in this case was a local authority, which provides public services from public funding. However, he made it clear that any reduction in the size of the fine was not to be seen as diminishing the responsibility of the Council for the death of Mr McGill.
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