An Angus firm at the centre of a fatal employee accident has been fined £120,000 over the “very tragic incident”.
Andrew Fraser died in a Montrose industrial estate after he became entangled with aluminium spraying machinery almost two years ago.
The 26-year-old Gemini Corrosion Services employee was rushed to Ninewells Hospital in September 2014 but succumbed to his injuries.
Representatives of the firm appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court on indictment after police and the Health and Safety Executive investigated the accident, which took place at its premises in Brent Avenue.
Sheriff Pino Di Emidio heard the firm had no safeguards to stop a TSA machine operator leaving his control station while the machine was running.
Specialist fiscal Gavin Callaghan said the Health and Safety Executive found that while the specific cause of the accident was not known, it was likely that Mr Fraser had left the controls and stood or walked beside a rotating coil, the rough surface of which attached to his clothes “like velcro”.
He had been trapped in the moving parts of the machine for up to 20 minutes before he was found by colleagues.
The court heard the firm, which went into administration last year and is yet to find a buyer, later put in barriers at a cost of £46,000.
Sheriff Di Emidio said: “There was guidance which if followed would have prevented the subsequent death.”
Gemini, whose registered office was given as Albyn Place, Aberdeen, was prosecuted under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 11(1) and (2), and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 section 33(1)(c).
The firm admitted failing to ensure that the thermal spray aluminium machine was adequately guarded between November 1 2005 and Mr Fraser’s accident, or that suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent access by persons to dangerous parts of machinery, and as a consequence Mr Fraser came into contact with a rotating pipe and suffered severe injuries from which he died.
Mr Fraser from Arbroath, who was known as Andy, was employed as a semi-skilled worker at Gemini for more than a year and worked on a number of operations at the firm.
At the time of the incident, managing director Ian Guthrie described Mr Fraser’s death as his “darkest day”.
Current managing director Steven McGilvray made no comment after the hearing.
See tomorrow’s Courier for more on this story.