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Wed July 15 2020

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Safety fine given straight to victim

10 Jun 15 A judge has directed that a £60,000 fine imposed on a construction company for safety offences should go directly to the employee whom it caused to be paralysed.

Armenian national Petros Pogosyan, aged 55, fell through a skylight roof while working for Race Interiors Ltd on 18th January 2013.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Pogosyan fell 4.5 metres onto a concrete floor at Roseberry Industrial Estate in London. His life changing injuries include brain damage and he is paralysed from the waist down. He is also now partially deaf.

During the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution case, the court was told he will need personal care for the rest of his life, and will never work again. His wife has given up work to care for him full time. Since the incident the couple have been living on state benefits.

Judge May QC described the accident as highly foreseeable and decided that the company fell far short of the required standards for managing risks at work.

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Race Interiors Limited was fined £60,000 with costs of £7,784 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

However, in what was described by the HSE as ‘a highly unusual move’ the fine was converted into a compensation order of £60,000 to be paid directly to Mr Pogosyan. The judge said it was ‘an exceptional case’ because Race Interiors is in dispute with its insurance company and so Mr Pogosyan is unlikely to receive any other compensation for his injuries.

HSE inspector Simon Hester said: “This tragedy should not have happened. Nobody should work on a roof without proper planning. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent a fall. Mr Pogosyan could have been killed by his fall and now suffers massive and irreversible life-changing injuries.”

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