Farmer killed by badly fitted door

A North Yorkshire farmer has been killed when he was crushed under a half-tonne roller shutter that had been badly fitted.

Robert Ireland was 71 and died from multiple injuries in October 2010 at his family farm in East Heslerton, near Malton.

The roller shutter door had recently been installed and fell from its ‘flimsy’ mountings.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution against the owner of the firm who supplied the door and the person who fitted the door.

Paul Halliwell, from Manchester, who has since wound up his company ‘Easydoor’ and David Whittaker, the fitter of the door, also from Manchester, both pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Bradford Crown Court was told that Mr Ireland had the roller shutter door installed in July 2010 by Mr Whittaker, who at the time had 18 years of experience, and was assisted by a trainee.

The door was installed to a grain store at the Manor Wold Farm. It had been in place for nearly four months, but only operated a dozen times before the fatal accident.

As Mr Ireland went to the barn and opened the roller shutter door, it can off its mountings and the entire door, which weighed 424 kg, fell some 4.5 metres to the ground and pinned him underneath.

The HSE investigation found that the door fell because there was a mismatch between the length of the door barrel and the distance between the supporting brackets.

As a result, the end of the barrel that came free from its mounting first was only held in place by a few millimetres.

The installation problem was compounded by flimsy brackets which were supporting the shutter that could have easily deflected outwards by several millimetres due to the stresses created as the door was used.

Vicki Wright, expert personal injury solicitor at Swain & Co says, “The installers should have appropriate installation checklists to prevent this type of accident from happening. It is clear that the extremely poor standard of the installation of this product led to Mr Ireland’s death.  This tragic accident could have been avoided”.

The HSE say that there are several relatively simple methods that could prevent the door from coming loose from its mountings, and these methods are well known within the industry and specialist guidance is widely available.

Losing a loved one is traumatic in any circumstances; to lose them due to others failings means that you may need answers as to what and how things happened.

Vicki Wright and Melanie Lidstone Land are experienced in getting you those answers and also the compensation you and your family need.

See our Fatal Accident claims page for more information or call Vicki and Melanie for free on 0800 0351 999