£1 fine for a life taken at work

Posted on 7 Feb 2013

A metals manufacturer in Manchester has received a £1 fine after an employee was killed moving a half-tonne machine.

The machine fell from a forklift truck, striking 25 year-old Bruce Dempsey, on the head.

The impact was so severe that Mr Dempsey died at the scene of the accident, at Applied Fusion in Patricroft.

Despite finding the company guilty of negligence, Manchester Crown Court was only able to hand out a £1 fine as Applied Fusion went into administration in March 2012.

The court heard how the forklift operator tasked with moving the machine to a bigger workshop was not trained to lift complicated loads.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Applied Fusion had been moving four of its machines into a bigger workshop at the factory. It was during the move of the fourth machine that it became unstable and fell, resulting in Mr Dempsey’s death.

Bruce Dempsey, from Eccles.
Bruce Dempsey, from Eccles.

“Bruce Dempsey sadly lost his life because of the failings of his employer,” said Health and Safety Executive Inspector Mike Lisle.

“Workers at the factory were told to move heavy, bulky machinery using a forklift truck, and the company should have made sure the work was properly planned in advance.”

Mr Dempsey’s death could have been avoided had the manufacturer strapped the machine down and told workers to stay a safe distance away from the forklift truck.

Applied Fusion took over the factory six weeks before the incident, but a health and safety audit had not been carried out at the company’s new premises.

The firm also failed to inform its own trained engineer responsible for overseeing lifting operations that it was planning to move the machines at the plant.

Bruce Dempsey was one of 24 people to be killed while working in UK manufacturing during 2009.