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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Firms fined over rail link death
Three companies have been fined a total of 100,000 at Maidstone Crown Court for breaches of health and safety laws that led to the death of a scaffolder.

Paul Ross died in May 2003 after falling from scaffolding while working on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in Thurrock, Essex.

Another worker was injured in the incident when he was hit by a falling steel beam.

All three companies pleaded guilty to breaching safety legislation.

Concrete roof

The prosecution followed an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident where Mr Ross fell seven metres.

He was working with colleagues to construct a re-enforced concrete roof in a plant room.

Deverson Direct Ltd of Stickfast Lane, Bobbing, Sittingbourne, Kent, were ordered to pay 50,000 in fines and 5,851 costs.

The installation of guard rails ... would have prevented this needless loss of life
Peter Collingwood, HM Inspector

J Murphy and Sons Ltd of Highgate Road, London, were ordered to pay 25,000 and costs of 2,925.50.

And Hochtief Akteingesellschaft of Windmill Hill Business Park, Whitehill Way, Swindon, were ordered to pay 25,000 and costs of 2,925.50.

Peter Collingwood, HM Inspector of Safety and Health, said the companies failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place.

"The installation of guard rails along the open edge of the scaffold would have prevented this needless loss of life.

"Ensuring scaffolding has adequate guard rails is a basic and simple precaution."

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