An international engineering firm is being prosecuted following the death of an electrician who was crushed by an overhead crane at its Bamber Bridge factory.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is bringing criminal proceedings against Assystem UK Ltd after Liam O’Neill became trapped between a working platform and the machine while replacing its control cable.
The 51-year-old, from Didsbury, Manchester, died in hospital seven days after the incident, on March 12, 2011.
The firm’s finance director David Caunce attended a brief hearing at Preston Magistrates’ Court yesterday, where the company was represented by solicitor Peter Smith.
It is charged with “failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practical, the health, safety and welfare at work” of its employees, including Mr O’Neill, “in relation to the risks arising from working on the platform tower in the development workshop” at its Club Street premises.
A district judge said the matter was too serious to be heard at the magistrates’ court and committed the case to Preston Crown Court on November 26.
Assystem UK is part of Assystem SA, a leader in engineering and innovation consulting across Europe.
According to its website it supports aeronautics and space, automotive, naval and defence, energy and nuclear and life sciences sectors.
Mr O’Neill was taken to Royal Preston Hospital on the day of the accident and later transferred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where he died on Saturday, March 19, 2012.
Det Insp Marc Nasser, from Leyland CID, visited the site on March 15 that year, but it was deemed not to be a criminal matter.
However, HSE members also visited the scene and launched an investigation.