Building firm fined following fatal vehicle accident

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A Preston-based building firm has been fined £130,000 following the death of a worker after he was involved in a crash with a reversing van outside a cinema.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted EMC Contracts Ltd after father-of-one Carl Green was struck by a reversing van in a paved area outside the entrance to the Odeon Cinema in Ashton-on-Ribble in July 2010.

The 45-year-old painter from Chorley had been working on a project to fit out a new coffee shop in the cinema when the incident happened.

During an eight-day-trial, Preston Crown Court was told one of EMC’s employees had unloaded his van of construction materials and was reversing it to park up outside the cinema when it struck Mr Green, who was crossing behind it.

An HSE investigation found the company did not have any control measures in place to keep vehicles involved in the construction work away from pedestrians outside the cinema. As a result, both workers and members of the public had been put in danger.

The company had written a method statement for the work, which identified the risk of pedestrians being injured by vehicles as a main hazard. However, the company failed to state what measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk.

EMC Contracts Ltd, which has been put into voluntary liquidation, was found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,790 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: “There were numerous measures the company could have implemented to either eliminate or reduce the risk of collision, such as prohibiting vehicles from reversing or avoiding using its vehicles outside the cinema entrance altogether. But the company still failed to act.”