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Company Fined £500k for Tragic Death Caused by Unsafe Gate

A major British wholesaler has been fined half a million pounds for the death of delivery driver Ronald Hayward in 2011.

The 42 year-old man died when a 300kg steel gate at Blakemore Wholesale in Newport city centre collapsed and pinned him to the ground.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Mr Hayward arrived at the Agincourt Street site to deliver baked goods at around 04:00 on the morning of the incident. He proceeded to unlock the entrance gate and as he prepared to leave, the gate fell and landed on him. He later died of traumatic asphyxia.

The company has admitted to failing to ensure the gates and gateposts were maintained and fit for use, resulting in a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974). This resulted in a half a million pound fine plus an additional £108k bill for legal costs.

An early inquest into the death of Mr Hayward confirmed the manual gate fell due to hinge failure, which caused a bolt fixing a bracket to an angle iron to dismount due to strain.

This case serves as a wake-up call for engineers, property owners and companies who are operating unsafe gates on site, as it is the first case of its kind to prosecute the end user.

Industry body, DHF (Door & Hardware Federation) has stated that this case is a “stark reminder of the vital need for regular inspection and testing of all gate installations”.

“This tragic accident would have been avoided if the gate in question had been structurally sound, regularly maintained and inspected for safety” commented CEO, Bob Perry.

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has not yet released a statement about the case. Click here to read more about the case.

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