Dad ‘died needlessly’ in ‘easily preventable’ accident at Hartlepool quay

The Bright Ocean where Robert Harrison fell 30 feet and suffered fatal injuries in September 2012.
The Bright Ocean where Robert Harrison fell 30 feet and suffered fatal injuries in September 2012.

A national work place safety regulator says a port worker’s death could have been “easily prevented”.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted PD Teesport after the death of agency worker Robert Harrison, aged 59.

This was a tragedy that could have very easily been prevented

HSE Inspector Cain Mitchell

He fell 30ft from a stack of large steel pipes as they were being loaded by crane onto a cargo ship at Irvine’s Quay, Hartlepool, on September 9, 2012.

PD Teesport was fined £400,000 and agreed to pay £107,684 court costs when the company was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on Monday, for failing to protect Mr Harrison, from Middlesbrough. After the hearing, HSE inspector Cain Mitchell said: “Robert Harrison, a father of three, lost his life needlessly because of the failure by PD Teesport Ltd to put effective safety measures in place.

“This was a tragedy that could have very easily been prevented.

“The company should have properly assessed the risks and ensured appropriate measures were in place to reduce the risks of falling.

“The risk of a fall from an eight-metre stack of pipes was obvious.

“These precautions could have included the use of soft-landing systems such as an air bag or cushion, which would have ensured no significant injury could result from a fall.”

The court heard Mr Harrison, known as Bob, was a very safety-conscious worker and had 35 years of experience.

He was looking forward to retirement and spending time with his family and grandchildren.

PD Ports said it was sorry for Mr Harrison’s death and working procedures are regularly reviewed.