Supercar manufacturer McLaren has been fined £650,000 after a father-of-five plunged to his death while inspecting a Formula 1 hospitality unit.
David Oldham, 55, who worked for Zurich Management Services Limited, had been carrying out a structural inspection of McLaren’s Paddock Brand Centre when he fell from one of the upper floors. He later died of his injuries.
The incident happened on 18 October 2016, while maintenance was being carried out on the unit at one of McLaren’s warehouses on Vanwall Road, Maidenhead.
An HSE investigation found McLaren had failed to properly assess the risks and to put measures in place to prevent workers falling from height at the centre (pictured above).
David lived with his wife Patricia in Hereford. She said: “Dave was the kind of man who would help anyone if he could. He had such a big heart.
“He used to make me laugh so much. Together we planned our retirement, where we would travel and see what new experiences we could explore together. I have been robbed of my husband, but poor Dave lost his life.”
Falls from height remain the biggest cause of workplace deaths, says HSE. In the five-year period between 2017 and 2022, 174 workers in Great Britain – a quarter of those killed in accidents at work – tragically fell to their death.
McLaren Services Limited, of Chertsey Road, Woking, Surrey, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £650,000 and ordered to pay £110,132 in costs at sentencing at Reading Crown Court on 31 March 2023.
Investigating HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “Work at height is a high risk activity and falls can result in life changing injuries and death. It’s the number one reason why people like David didn’t get home from work. Those responsible to ensure his health and safety failed to do so.
“It is very important that those in control of the work identify the risk, plan to eliminate it if possible, or where it is not possible, take appropriate precautions to safeguard workers and others. Good management will also include regular monitoring that the controls in place are keeping people safe.”
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