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Marble and Granite Manufacturer Prosecuted Following Fatality

Deco Marble and Granite Limited of Whitby Ave, Park Royal, London was fined £3,000 at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday 14 April 2005 following a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after an investigation into an incident where a worker was killed on 26 September 2003.

John Martin Dunleavy, (known as Martin) aged 37 from Holland Park, was crushed by several stone slabs from a bundle weighing approximately six tonnes, at Deco Marble’s yard in Park Royal. The slabs were being unloaded from a delivery lorry by crane when the chains used to lift the load became trapped.

It was whilst Mr Dunleavy was trying to free the chains that the slabs tipped forward onto him.

  • Deco Marble pleaded guilty to breaching:
  • Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act;
  • Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999;
  • and Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Following the prosecution, HSE Principal Inspector Mike Gibb said: “This incident demonstrates the inherent dangers involved in moving and storing large heavy loads such as slabs of stone. Firms receiving deliveries should consider the use of contract lifts where a crane hire firm can plan and coordinate all aspects of the lifting operations.

“All firms using and storing stone slabs should assess the risks from their current storage and handling arrangements. Toast-rack style storage is preferred to prevent toppling of slabs. Inclined A-frames can also be used provided the slabs are secure.”

Deco Marble and Granite Limited is in liquidation and was fined only £3,000. In sentencing His Honour Judge Rivlin QC said “No sum could possibly represent the loss the family have suffered but had the company been trading, and successfully so, then the potential fine would have been £80,000”.

The Judge also expressed surprise that the family had not received any financial compensation. He asked the defendant’s solicitors to write to the company’s insurance company to speed up settlement of the claim.

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