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hseA Scottish business has been heavily fined by the courts after it was found liable for the death of an elderly employee at work.

Mr Malcolm MacDonald Kennedy, 69, and a retired fitter, worked for Alistair Thomas Corrie, a skip hire business based in Kilmarnock, on a casual basis for approximately eight years until he died in an accident on a firm’s premises on 12 December 2011.

On the day of the fatal accident, Mr Kennedy – who would often be the first worker to arrive at the premises in Kilmarnock – entered the firm’s premises using his own set of keys. It appears – although this was not caught on camera or witnessed by anybody – that the heavy iron gates that Mr Kennedy was unlocking then fell on top of him, trapping and killing him. Mr Kennedy’s body was found an hour later by the next employee to arrive but, although the emergency services were called to the site, attempts to resuscitate Mr Kennedy failed and he was declared dead at the scene.

The Health and Safety Executive was notified of the accident and subsequently investigated. This investigation found that the 180kg iron gates had been installed in 2003 but later rendered defective by unsafe works being untaken on them and, in particular, that the gateposts had been packed with metal washers, which had meant that hinges to the gate could not be securely fitted. The HSE investigation found that this had substantially contributed to the accident and recommended that Alistair Thomas Corrie be prosecuted for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The case came to the Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on 3 November 2014, with Mr Corrie pleading guilty to a breach of s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Mr Corrie was fined £20,000 by the court and ordered to pay the costs of the prosecution.

An inspector at the HSE, Lesley Hammond, later gave the following statement: “Employers have a duty to provide and maintain a safe means of access and egress for their employees.  The tragic death of Mr Kennedy could easily have been prevented had the gates been installed and maintained properly.  Unfortunately, this failing led to the loss of Mr Kennedy’s life.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers have a duty to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that the health and safety of their employees is not jeopardised by unsafe practices or equipment in the workplace. In this instance, tit was found that the manner in which the gates to the premises had been installed and maintained rendered the business liable for prosecution.”

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Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

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Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

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Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

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Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

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Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

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My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

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I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

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I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

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