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Haulier fined £75,000 after worker killed by falling stack of pallets

  • 15 April 2013
  • By Roger Brown

Nuneaton haulier Ralph Coleman International has been fined £75,000 after a worker was killed when a tall stack of empty wooden pallets toppled on to him.

In a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, Warwick Crown Court was told how Marcin Rogala, 29, was working at the firm’s premises on the Bermuda Industrial Estate in Nuneaton when the incident happened in November 2010.

Rogala and his colleagues were gathering up fallen pallets from a tall stack that had collapsed in the yard on that morning. As he and other workers removed the wooden pallets in wet and windy conditions, another tall stack toppled over. Others jumped clear but Rogala was struck by the pallets, which weighed 36kg each. He died after sustaining multiple injuries.

An HSE investigation found that a lack of effective management control over operations in the pallet yard, combined with high stock levels, had led to an unsafe environment and stacks being made too tall.

Ralph Coleman International pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was also ordered to pay costs of £25,316.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Roger Amery said: “This death was a tragedy which could have been prevented if this company had given proper and thoughtful attention to its pallet yard operation.

“Its failure to do so put other workers at risk and led to the death of Mr Rogala,” he added. “Lots of firms form unsupported or freestanding stacks in their yards. I hope this death and the penalty imposed prompts them to check the condition and height of their stacks so that this doesn’t happen again.”


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