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Northfleet company fined over worker Nigel Harrison's death

by Keith Hunt

North Kent Shotblasting Co Ltd has been fined £150,000 over the death of a worker who was crushed by a heavy metal plate two years ago.

The amount imposed at Maidstone Crown Court might have been higher if it had not been for the company's lack of funds, a judge said.

Industrial paint sprayer Nigel Harrison was working at the Northfleet site in October 2006 when he was trapped underneath the plate, which weighed one tonne.

The 52-year-old married father-of-four, of View Road, Cliffe Woods, was taken to Darent Valley Hospital, where he died from multiple injuries. An inquest jury later returned a verdict of accidental death.

The company, which has since ceased trading but lets part of the land and buildings, and director Wayne Taylor, of Pescot Avenue, Longfield, admitted a breach of the Health and Safety Act.

Judge Charles Macdonald QC said there was not a deliberate breach in order to increase profits.

He added the loss to Mr Harrison’s family was "incalculable" and the sentence was in no way intended to compensate them. It was to bring home to managers and shareholders their company’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment.

The company was allowed four years to pay the fine and £24,317 costs.

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