One accident claim has led to the death of an electrician of Polish descent after a terrible fall. As a result his employer, a Netherlands-based fumigation company, has been heavily fined.
Robert Schmelter had been working in the Kenton, Suffolk premises of Anchorage Storage Ltd installing fumigation units when the work accident claim occurred. He was there at the behest of fumigation company Bergwerff Numansdrop BV. The Dutch company trades as ECO2 BV in the UK.
Mr Schmelter’s last moments were described during a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court. The electrician lost his footing whilst descending a ladder. As a result he fell to the floor below head first. After being rushed to hospital Mr Schmelter succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
The Health and Safety Executive conducted an investigation of the incident. Its findings indicated that the electrician’s work had been neither planned or supervised properly. After the company admitted to breaches of Health and Safety Regulations, it was given a fine of £60,000. Additionally it was instructed by the court to pay costs of over £21,000 as well.
After the hearing, one inspector for the HSE commented on how avoidable the tragic accident had been. If the Dutch fumigation company had chosen to carry out their legal obligation to ensure their employees’ safety Mr Schmelter might be alive today, the inspector stated.
One of the major causes of work accident claims are falls from height. In excess of 4,000 serious accident claims occurred in just the last year. Industry experts agree that the costs associated with HSE fines and personal injury compensation claim cases are much higher than the costs of conducting risk assesments or providing proper levels of supervision and planning on work sites.
No information was available in regarding Mr Schmelter’s surviving family members’ plans to file such a claim in the immediate future.