England

Cornwall vineyard death: Firm fined £200,000

Polmassick Vineyard sign
Image caption The vineyard was having 1,300 empty bottles delivered

A Devon distribution company has been fined £200,000 for safety breaches over the death of a Cornish vineyard owner.

George Musgrave, 66, died in April 2008 while helping to unload a delivery of empty wine bottles at Polmassick Vineyard at St Ewe, near St Austell.

The load fell from a lorry tail lift, causing fatal head and chest injuries.

Gregory Distribution Ltd, of North Park, North Tawton, pleaded guilty after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution.

Problems 'foreseeable'

The vehicle was being driven by an agency driver who was delivering a consignment of about 1,300 bottles. He had not been give specific safety advice before setting off.

At an earlier hearing at Bodmin Magistrates' Court, the company admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by exposing someone to risk by failing to ensure adequate arrangements and procedures for the unloading of pallets.

In sentencing at Truro Crown Court, Judge Christopher Elwyn said the accident had not been a case of cutting corners and that the company was a well run and responsible organisation.

But he added that the problems were foreseeable and should have been guarded against.

Gregory Distribution was also ordered to pay £16,993 costs.

The company said it regretted the circumstances that led to the death and that it had implemented remedial measures to ensure such accidents could not occur in the future.

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