Firm pleads guilty after Goodmayes man killed by steel barrier

A worker was killed by an “unsecure” steel barrier which fell on him as he carried out repairs on a machine, a court has heard.

Balbir Rayatt, 55, of Goodmayes, worked as an engineering and maintenance manager for car mat manufacturer Cannon Automotive Limited in Tottenham, London.

Last week the firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

It was fined �20,000 and ordered to pay costs of �13,100.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the heavy steel fabrication barrier had been stored vertically and unsecured against rubber compound powder containers.


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Married 55-year-old Mr Rayatt suffered fatal head injuries when the barrier fell on him while carrying out repairs on a rubber-mixing machine in May 2008.

He died in hospital 24 hours after the accident.

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City of London Magistrates’ Court heard the firm failed to assess the risks and implement a suitable and sufficient safe system of work for the maintenance of the mixer.

It also heard Cannon Automotive Limited did not supervise, manage, monitor, audit or review its arrangements regarding maintenance operations on the mixer to ensure they met the health and safety standards.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Neil Fry, said: “This tragic death was utterly preventable.

“Poor standards and failure to keep working environments in a good condition are a major cause of these types of incidents and also occupational diseases.

“Maintenance is a process that affects every aspect of safety and health and when a tragedy such as this occurs it demonstrates the importance of planning when carrying out maintenance work.

“Unfortunately it is too late for Mr Rayatt, but I would hope employers in London and around the UK will take note.”

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