Felixstowe firm fined over death of employee Douglas Skinner ordered to pay extra £23k at costs hearing

The trial is ongoing at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

The trial is ongoing at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

A Felixstowe company fined £120,000 following the death of one of its employees has been ordered to pay costs of £23,000.

SPR Trailer Services Ltd, of Walton Avenue, admitted breaching health and safety regulations in relation to the death of 67-year-old grandfather Douglas Skinner – and was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court in January.

The issue of costs was adjourned until yesterday.

Mr Skinner, of Chesterton Close, Ipswich, died in hospital in January 2015 two days after falling from a cherry picker after it was clipped by a lorry.

The 67-year-old, who worked part-time, was replacing signs by the entrance at SPR Trailer Services Ltd in Walton Avenue at the time of the accident.

He 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.

Sentencing the company in January, Judge Martyn 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 misjudgments” 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.”