Port firm hit with £500,000 payout over worker’s death

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SONY DSC

A port operator has been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay more than £100,000 in legal costs for health and safety failures which led to the death of a dock worker.

It is after Robert Harrison, 59, died after he fell from around 30ft from large steel pipes as they were being loaded into the Bright Ocean cargo ship while it was docked in Irvine’s Quay, Ferry Road, Hartlepool, on September 9, 2012.

A dock worker was injured in an accident when he fell 30 feet to a steel deck below on the ship, The Bright Ocean (pictured), which is docked at Irvine (UNSURE OF SPELLING) Quay on Ferry Road at Hartlepool Marina.

A dock worker was injured in an accident when he fell 30 feet to a steel deck below on the ship, The Bright Ocean (pictured), which is docked at Irvine (UNSURE OF SPELLING) Quay on Ferry Road at Hartlepool Marina.

Mr Harrison, known as Bob, who had 35 years’ experience, lost his footing on the pipes while he was supervising their loading from a crane on the dock.

He suffered multiple injuries after landing on the steel bottom of the ship.

Today, at Teesside Crown Court, Judge Michael Taylor said a failure by the company, PD Teesport, to use any sort of soft landing system protection contributed to Mr Harrison’s death.

And he said the company’s risk assessment for working at height, had “grossly underestimated” the chance of workers tripping while carrying out such work.

Judge Taylor said: “In my view, the death of Mr Harrison could probably have been avoided by the use of a soft landing system in this case.”

PD Teesport, based at Queen’s Square, Middlesbrough, admitted failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.

The firm was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.