Sheffield firm told to pay £760,000 after death of worker in crush

Richard Calsen (24/8/88) who was killed in an industrial incident on 17/09/2014 in Abbey Village
Richard Calsen (24/8/88) who was killed in an industrial incident on 17/09/2014 in Abbey Village

A Sheffield firm has been ordered to pay out more than £760,000 after a tragic accident in which a man was crushed to death.

Dad-to-be Richard Calsen, 25, known affectionately as Chard, was fatally wounded at the back of a refuse wagon at welding firm John Fowler and Son at Abbey Mill in Abbey Village, near Chorley, Lancashire, on May 17, 2014.

John Fowler and Son at Garden Street, Abbey Village where 25-year-old Richard Calsen was killed in an industrial accident

John Fowler and Son at Garden Street, Abbey Village where 25-year-old Richard Calsen was killed in an industrial accident

Sheffield-based Veolia Environmental Services, which owned the wagon he was working on, was prosecuted because a safety switch mechanism that would have stopped the tailgate closing and leaving a metre gap, was not maintained.

It was jammed, meaning the tailgate could close fully when his colleague mistakenly pressed a lever, crushing Mr Calsen. The company must pay £750,000 in fines and £11,981 costs.

John Fowler and Son was ordered to pay a £65,000 fine and £12,443 costs after pleading guilty to several health and safety offences.

The court heard Mr Calsen was supposed to be on holiday and had only gone into work as a favour.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Mark Brown, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said proper thought was never given to the risks leading to an unsafe system of work, and the accident ‘should never have happened.’

“There is no doubt his death at a relatively young age has had a devastating effect on his family. His partner describes him as a funny, charming and charismatic person,” he added.

“They were planning their future together and her three children adored him.”