Sussex firm fined after worker ‘crushed’ to death

A Sussex firm has been fined after one of its workers was ‘crushed to death’.

Dr Craig McEwan, 34, died after becoming stuck between a gantry crane and a metal chimney whilst working at electromagnet company Tesla Engineering in Storrington.

According to the Health and Safety Executive the firm, based in Water Lane, ‘failed to implement measures to prevent staff being hit by the crane’ and it has since been fined £400,000.

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Dr McEwan had been working to create a superconducting magnet coil at the firm on March 23 last year.

Tank at TeslaTank at Tesla
Tank at Tesla

The Health and Safety Executive said whilst working on top of a tank he got caught between the moving gantry crane and the metal chimney and was crushed to death.

Following an investigation by the executive it found that Tesla Engineering had recently fitted the chimney extension to the tank which had increased the height staff had to work at.

A spokesman said investigators found no measures had been put in place to stop the crane being operated whilst people were working on the tanks.

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Tesla Engineering appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ court and pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work act. It was fined £400,000 and was also ordered to pay more than £7500 in court costs.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Russell Beckett said: “Tesla Engineering adapted the work process it carried out but failed to review its planning or to take measures to ensure that workers could not be hit by the moving overhead gantry crane.

“Simple measures to either lock out the crane or to prevent workers accessing dangerous areas could have been implemented but were not, which ultimately led to Dr McEwan losing his life.