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Firms fined £200k for fatal fall

Two contractors and two individuals were fined almost £200,000 for contributing to the death of a German worker in a distribution plant in 2004.

Hans Zdolsek was killed after falling 8.5m while working at the Wilkinsons depot in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Principal contractor Siemens Dematic - now known as Oldbury (Banbury) - was today fined £100,000 and ordered to pay more than £47,000 costs at Nottingham Crown Court.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Mark Dawson said Siemens had failed to manage the project safely.

He said in addition to insufficient co-operation and co-ordination between Siemens and their many contractors working on the site, plastic tie-wraps had been used to secure guardrails at the plant.

He said: "It seems almost inconceivable that professional people should consider plastic tie-wraps to be a suitable means of securing guardrails.

"As a direct result of this practice, Hans died."

A second company, racking installation contractors Stow UK, was fined £80,000 with costs of £41,000.

Both companies had pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

While Siemens' project manager David Hill was found not guilty of manslaughter, he had pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach and was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £500 in costs.

The fourth fine was handed down to the site's health and safety officer David Hastie. Mr Hastie also pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined the same as Mr Hill.

The sentences come follow a joint prosecution by Nottinghamshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive.