Company director fined additional £4k after health and safety breaches cause death of 53-year-old

A Scottish construction company and one of its directors have been convicted of failing to ensure proper health and safety standards, following the death of an employee.

The incident occurred in May 2008, when 53-year-old Andrezej Freitag fell nearly three meters down an exhaust shaft at a block of flats being built in Dundee.

The accident happened because there was no “robust barrier” on the edge of the shaft. The victim later died of his injuries.

Discovery Homes (Scotland) was fined £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Richard Lionel John Pratt, a director of the same company, who also performed the duties of site manager, was fined £4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

This is only the second successful prosecution of a company director in Scotland in six years for a breach of health and safety legislation.

Murray Provan, an Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector is now warning construction companies about the risk to their employees working at height.

"This accident was entirely foreseeable and preventable," said Provan. "Mr Freitag died because his employer and the site manager failed to do enough about the risks associated with working at height.

"Mr Pratt used the type of barrier normally found at a roadworks site as protection at the top of the shaft, which is totally unsuitable for that purpose. He was in charge from the beginning of works and the standard of health and safety management was Mr Pratt's responsibility. The company's culpability is wholly attributable to his neglect,” he added.