'To his family he was priceless': Northamptonshire company scolded for safety failures that led to death of father-of-three

A construction company that carried out no health and safety checks before a Northamptonshire father was electrocuted to death on the job has been fined more than £100,000.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 5:05 pm
Mark White had a daughter, a son and two step-children.
Mark White had a daughter, a son and two step-children.

Mark White worked for K J Pickering as a construction worker and foreman for seven years before he hired the firm to help him with a project at his own house in Rhode Hill, Ashton, in 2017.

But Northampton Crown Court heard today (July 26) how the "informality" of the job led to complete lack of any health and safety checks at the home.

Tragically, Mr White was then killed when a metal rake he was using touched a high-voltage power line on the afternoon of January 16, 2017. He was 47.

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Mark White had a daughter, a son and two step-children.

At court today, K J Pickering Ltd pleaded guilty to two health and safety failures that "directly" led to the father-of-three's death.

They were fined £102,400 and ordered to pay some £65,000 in costs.

Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking told the court: "His family are absolutely devastated by his loss.

"The sentence I pass is not a monetary reflection of Mr White's life. To his family, he was priceless.

"He was a dedicated, hard-working family man and whose death left an enormous gap in his family's life."

The accident happened when Mr White - who was acting as foreman on the project at his own house - was brushing concrete with a seven-metre long metal rake.

Sadly, he was electrocuted when the rake contacted with an 11,000v power line hanging six metres overhead.

Judge Lucking told the court: "Even before he lost consciousness, his sole concern was for the safety of his colleagues, who he told not to touch him in case they too were shocked.

"Despite the efforts of paramedics, he was declared dead at the scene."

The court heard K J Pickering Ltd - directed by Mr Kevin Pickering - "apologised unreservedly" for Mr White's death.

But at Mr White's inquest in late 2017, the jury was highly critical of how the company had carried out no health and safety assessments for the project.

Judge Lucking said: "This company's past approaches to health and safety have been extremely good. But here there was a level of informality that was not typical of this company.

"On this occasion, I'm afraid it's clear that a level of informality led to the oversight of some extremely important safety requirements."

Additionally, the court heard Mr White's family carried out a successful civil suit against the company.