Catering firm fined £40k following tragic death

Elgin Sheriff Court

A catering company admitted health and safety failures that contributed to the death of an electrician at an Elgin café.

Elgin Sheriff Court heard that Neil Grant had left a dishwasher he was working on switched on as he examined its wiring in the Café Ecosse on July 20, 2009.

The 48-year-old former RAF electrician was in front of the dishwasher when sparks started to fly before a colleague saw him being hit by an electric shock from which he collapsed.

He was rushed to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin where he was pronounced dead.

Following an investigation that included police and Moray Council, a report was produced by John Madden of the Health and Safety Executive which identified failures by Mr Grant’s employers, Moray Catering.

The report concluded that the firm had not adequately assessed the risk to employees carrying out maintenance work.

Imposing a fine of £40,000, Sheriff Susan Raeburn expressed the condolences of the court to Mr Grant’s family and friends.

The sheriff said that an appropriate starting position for her judgement was £60,000, but had reduced that by a third because Moray Catering had entered a guilty plea to an amended charge and had fully cooperated with investigations.

Following the case Mr Grant’s daughter Lindsay said she did not blame anyone for the death of her father, adding that it was “just an unexpected accident”.

She told the P&J that Moray Catering’s founder and director, Graham Mutch, has been friends with her father and family since Mr Grant had first went to work for him in 2000, adding: “I’m just sorry it has all come to this.

“It was really shocking that they were being charged because, myself, I thought it was just a tragic accident. It has been six years since everything happened, and I would have liked it to have been cleared up long before now but it was very complex.”

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