Widow's disgust at company fine

SUFFOLK widow Julie Holland today spoke of her disgust after the company whose breaches of safety regulations led to the death of her husband was fined £40,000.

By Victoria Knowles

SUFFOLK widow Julie Holland today spoke of her disgust after the company whose breaches of safety regulations led to the death of her husband was fined £40,000.

Mrs Holland, of Nacton Road, Ipswich, said she received less than half that amount in compensation after Harold Holland was killed while working at Jackson Fork Trucks in Barham.

"I am disgusted that it has taken more than two years for this case to come to court," said Mrs Holland, of Nacton Road, Ipswich. "We have had to live with this for so long. There will never be anything that can replace Harold. Even if they had been fined £100,000 it would make no difference to my family and me.

"What really annoys me is that the fine is more than double the compensation I received and so yet again the government has come off better and not the victim's family," she said.

Mrs Holland was at Berry St Edmunds Crown Court to hear Reeve and Wright (Anglia) Limited sentenced after the accident which happened in November 1999.

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Her son Gary, who was at court with his mum, was also upset.

He said: "I do not think that is fair. I would prefer to have my father here than anything."

Ron Griffiths, an inspector of health and safety said after the case: "This is a substantial fine and I hope that the message gets through. Managers have to stop and think about the work they are doing and take responsibility for it."

Mr Holland was working at Jackson Fork Trucks, in Norwich Road, Barham, a sub-division of Reeve and Wright (Anglia) Limited, when the accident happened.

In court Christopher Kerr, prosecuting said: "Mr Holland and some colleagues were trying to move the Climax truck from the back of a curtain-sided lorry. They attempted to lift the 5.36 tonne truck on to the Lancer which could carry a maximum of five tonnes.

"The forks would not go all the way under the truck and so it was decided that another fork lift truck would be used to help lift the Climax high enough," he said.

It was then that Mr Holland decided to get in to the Climax without warning and his weight along with the weight of the inherent overloading tipped the truck over crushing Mr Holland in the cab.

Elliot Woolf, defending said the firm accepted their planning and supervision had not been adequate and that the risk of the accident could have been reduced if appropriate action had been taken. He also made it clear that the firm have since made changes in the way they deal with health and safety and have appointed an officer especially for this duty.

The company had pleaded guilty to four breaches of health and safety regulations including failing to ensure the trucks were clearly marked with the loading capacity, failing to ensure the operation to lift the truck was properly planned. Also failing to supervise appropriately and failing to make a sufficient assessment of the risks involved in the lift.

They were given a £40,000 fine and have to pay more than £7,000 in costs. This is to be paid at a rate of £1,000 per month.