Two found guilty after metal door crushes farmer

Two men have been sentenced to community service after a metal door they supplied and fitted killed a North Yorkshire farmer.

Robert Ireland, 71, died from multiple injuries on 28 October 2010 at Manor Wold Farm, East Heslerton, near Malton, when a roller shutter door weighing almost half a tonne fell from its mountings.

As Mr Ireland opened his grain store the entire door broke free and fell 15ft to the ground, pinning him underneath, a hearing at Bradford Crown Court was told.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation into the incident found that the door fell because there was a mismatch between the length of the door barrel and the distance between the supporting brackets.

As a result, the end of the barrel that came free from the mountings first was only held in place by a few millimetres.

The installation problem was compounded by flimsy brackets supporting the shutter that could be easily deflected outwards by several millimetres due to the stresses created as the door was operated.

Following the investigation the HSE brought a prosecution for safety breaches against Paul Halliwell from Stockport, Manchester, the owner of the firm which supplied the door and David Whittaker of Hyde, Manchester, the fitter who installed it.

Both men pleaded guilty to single charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Mr Halliwell, of Beaufort Road, Stockport, was given 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. David Whittaker of Bradley Green Road, Hyde, was also given 200 hours’ community service and told to pay £2,000 in costs for breaching Section 7(a) of the same Act.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said: “There are several relatively simple methods that could have been used to prevent this door from coming loose from its mountings. Such methods are well known within the industry and specialist guidance on the matter is widely available.”

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