Company is fined £120k after worker fell from cherry picker in Walton Avenue, Felixstowe

SPR Trailer Services Ltd, based in Walton Road, Felixstowe, was fined £120,000 following the death o

SPR Trailer Services Ltd, based in Walton Road, Felixstowe, was fined £120,000 following the death of Douglas Skinner. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

A Felixstowe company which admitted breaching health and safety legislation following the death of one of its employees has been fined £120,000.

Sentencing SPR Trailer Services Ltd, of Walton Avenue, Judge Martyn Levett said the death of 67-year-old grandfather Douglas Skinner in January 2015 had been “avoidable”.

A sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court today (Thursday) heard that Mr Skinner, of Chesterton Close, Ipswich, died in hospital two days after falling from a cherry picker after it was clipped by a lorry.

Mr Skinner, who worked part-time, was replacing signs by the entrance at SPR Trailer Services Ltd, , at the time of the accident.

Mr Skinner had been wearing a hi-vis vest and steel toe-capped boots at the time, but there was no legal requirement for him to wear a hard hat.

SPR Trailer Services admitted breaching health and safety legislation in relation to Mr Skinner’s death and was fined £120,000. A hearing to decide costs will take place at a later date.

Sentencing the company Judge Levett said it had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work to be carried out by Mr Skinner and had failed to take basic measures to provide a safe working space .

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The company, which has no previous convictions, had also failed to provide instructions about how the work should be carried out and the work hadn’t been supervised.

Miles Bennett for SPR Trailer Services offered the company’s “sincere apologies” to Mr Skinner’s family and said he had been regarded as a friend by everyone at the company.

He said the company had a good health and safety record and had promptly remedied failures.

He said Mr Skinner’s death was the result of “a series of minor misjudgements” which created a “perfect storm”.

Paying tribute to Mr Skinner his family described him as a much missed husband, father and grandad and as “loving, caring and hardworking.”

After the sentencing hearing SPR Trailer Services managing director Simon Rivers said: “Doug Skinner was a respected, trusted and extremely valued member of staff. His tragic death had a profound effect on SPR Trailer Services Ltd. The company’s thoughts have been and remain with the family.”