Fined £1 for worker crushed to death: Bust engineering firm guilty of safety breaches that killed Eccles man

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson & Lucy Kenderdine

A financially-stricken engineering company was slapped with a £1 nominal fine for failing to protect an Eccles employee who was crushed to death more than three years ago.

Bruce Dempsey, 25, from Eccles, was killed by a half-tonne pressing machine at the Patricroft workshop of Applied Fusion Ltd in December 2009.

The machine had fallen from a faulty forklift truck and the firm was found to be guilty of breaching section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in November 2012.

The court heard that risk assessment and training records were inadequate and more could have been done to prevent accidents in the workplace.

Although the St. Helens-based firm had an employee responsible for health and safety, the court heard that they had never visited the site in Patricroft.

Applied Fusion entered administration in February 2011, suffering debts of £400,000 due to an unpaid tax bill, and so escaped a substantial fine.

Judge Bernard Lever said that sentencing guidelines suggested a fine of no less than £100,000, which would have been imposed if the company had funds.

He added: “No amount of money would ever settle the loss of a life of a loved one.”

Judge Lever sympathised with the family of the deceased when passing the sentence on the tragic accident, but added that ‘the courts must be consistent in their sanctions’.

An earlier inquest at Bolton Coroners’ Court in February 2012 determined the death to be a tragic accident.

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