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Steel giant Tata admits guilt

Steel giant Tata admits guilt

A steel company has been fined £500,000 after the horrific death of one of its workers who fell into a stream of super-heated molten liquid.

Tata Steel UK Ltd admitted two breaches of health and safety legislation following the incident which cost Kevin Downey his life.

The 49-year-old was engulfed in steam and left disorientated during a night shift at the firm's Port Talbot plant in April 2006. As he tried to find his bearings in the steam he stumbled into a channel of molten slag heated to 1500 degrees C. Mr Downey suffered 85 per cent burns on his body and later died of his injuries.

The plant and a handful of other UK steel sites were controlled at the time by Corus Steel UK, which was taken over by Tata in 2010. Tata Steel UK Ltd pleaded guilty at Swansea Crown Court to charges in relation to breaches of section 2(1) and section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined 400,000 in relation to the section 2 offence and £100,000 in relation to the section 3 offence, and ordered to pay costs of £57,487.09.

Malcolm Underhill, partner in personal injury at IBB Solicitors, says:

"The circumstances of this terrible accident demonstrate not only why we must have appropriate health and safety legislation, but that it is enforced, for the benefit of everyone.

"The fact that Tata Steel pleaded guilty to the offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 implies, particularly when one looks at the heavy fine imposed, that the standards of care directed towards employees was particularly poor.

"This kind of case should be brought to the attention of those who seek to persuade the Government, that the amount of health and safety legislation should be reduced. To reduce legislation is likely to lead to more accidents like this one. That will be very expensive for business and society."

IBB Solicitors has built a reputation for quality of service in pursuing compensation in cases involving accident, illness or death, including accidents at work. If you would like advice on personal injury issues, you can contact a member of IBB's Personal Injury team, call us on 01895 207972 or email PI@ibblaw.co.uk.