Angus quarry operator sues health and safety firm over £200k death fine

Geddes GroupAn Angus firm has launched a legal bid to sue a health and safety company following the death of a worker at a quarry.

Arbroath based D Geddes (Contractors) Ltd has lodged an action at the Court of Session against Neil Johnson Health and Safety Services Ltd, of Clarkston, Glasgow.

It follows an incident in July 2012, when Joseph Troup, a 76-year-old employed by Geddes at Hatton Mill Quarry, near Friockheim, died while working.

He had been at the wheel of a 35-tonne truck when it over-ran an inadequate stop block.

Mr Troup, of St Ninian’s Road, Padanaram, near Forfar, was not wearing a seatbelt and was killed instantly when the machine plunged down the slope of the quarry.

He had worked for the firm for 18 years before the incident.

During a criminal case at Forfar Sheriff Court last year, D Geddes (Contractors) Ltd was fined £200,000 for its part in the fatal incident.

Now, it is understood that the company is looking to recoup that money by taking the health and safety firm — which had been employed by Geddes in advance of the quarry accident — to court.

A spokesman for D Geddes (Contractors) Ltd declined to comment on the court case but did tell the Evening Telegraph: “The matter is with our lawyers.”

The Arbroath company had pleaded guilty during last year’s court case to a contravention of the 1999 Quarries Regulations section of the Health and Safety Work Act.

The firm admitted it had failed to construct and maintain an adequate stop block above the input hopper of the processing plant at the quarry to stop a fully-loaded, heavy vehicle from over-running the edge, causing a fatal accident.

The court heard that it appeared Mr Troup had “inadvertently” put the vehicle into reverse.

The reverse lever was side-by-side with the tipping lever, and the dumper truck fell backwards on to the quarry floor below.

The company had an unblemished safety record up until this incident, and was given 24 months to pay the fine.

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