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Kent construction firm fined £20,000 after worker drowns in quarry

26 Mar 10 A Kent construction company has been found guilty of health and safety breaches, after an employee drowned while working in a flooded quarry.

A Kent construction company has been found guilty of health and safety breaches, after an employee drowned while working in a flooded quarry.

Edward James Day, trading as E J Construction, was fined £20,000 at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday (24 March).

A jury found Day guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulation 37(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The prosecution, brought jointly by Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), followed an incident on 5 December 2007.

An employee of E J Construction, Mark Wilkin, was working to extend a finger of land which was being used as a temporary roadway out into a flooded quarry at Salt Lane in Cliffe. The vehicle he was driving, a site dumper, came off the roadway and Mr Wilkin became trapped under it in the quarry. He drowned at the scene.

Melvyn Stancliffe, HSE inspector, said: "This case demonstrated - as do so many site transport incidents - that reliance on a competent driver and a properly-maintained vehicle is simply not enough. Workplace transport incidents are nearly always preventable.

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Had Day ensured that the simple measure of providing proper edge protection to the site roads was in place then the risk of vehicles leaving the road could have been prevented.

"This tragic case so sadly illustrates the hazards that are all too frequently faced by construction workers.

"The law is clear and where employers fail to safeguard their workers and injury, ill-health or death result - HSE will take enforcement action. "

Geoff Payne, detective inspector for Kent Police, said: "We are pleased that Day has been found guilty of charges relating to health and safety offences. This case highlights the need for employees to follow the strict guidelines that are set out to keep workers safe.

"Kent Police in Medway has successfully worked alongside the Heath and Safety Executive to secure this conviction and are pleased that the fine reflects the severity of his actions. This is a tragic case and our thoughts remain with the family of Wilkin. I would to thank them for their patience and understanding throughout the investigation."

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