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Discovery Homes and its director fined less than £10k after employee death

Scottish contractor Discovery Homes has been fined £5,000 after pleading guilty to safety breaches following the death of an employee last year.

Andrezej Freitag, 53, from Poland, died in May 2008 from injuries he sustained when he fell nearly 3 m down an exhaust shaft at a block of flats being built in Dundee.

Company director Richard Lionel John Pratt, who also performed the duties of site manager, was also fined £4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The Health and Safety Executive said the court ruling was only the second successful health and safety prosecution of a company director in Scotland in six years.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Mr Freitag had fallen because there was not a robust barrier on the edge of the shaft.

Inspector Murray Provan said: “This accident was entirely foreseeable and preventable.

“Mr Freitag died because his employer and the site manager failed to do enough about the risks associated with working at height.

“Mr Pratt used the type of barrier normally found at a roadworks site as protection at the top of the shaft, which is totally unsuitable for that purpose.

“He was in charge from the beginning of works and the standard of health and safety management was Mr Pratt’s responsibility. The company’s culpability is wholly attributable to his neglect.”