Broke firm may avoid compensation

PUBLISHED: 13:02 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010

INSOLVENCY may prevent the employers of a 21-year-old agricultural worker who died after working three consecutive 19-hour shifts paying out significant compensation, a court was told on Friday. Mark Fiebig, of Soham, was killed in October 2002 when his

INSOLVENCY may prevent the employers of a 21-year-old agricultural worker who died after working three consecutive 19-hour shifts paying out "significant" compensation, a court was told on Friday.

Mark Fiebig, of Soham, was killed in October 2002 when his Ford Escort van drifted across the road and was in collision with an articulated lorry on the A10 near Ely.

The Produce Connection, a potato firm based in Chittering, admitted failing to protect the safety of its workers and the public at an earlier hearing, but could be spared a heavy penalty as the company is nearly £2million overdrawn, lawyers for the firm revealed.

Recorder Peter Guest told the hearing at Cambridge Crown Court: "I think we all recognise that with a healthy company there would be a significant financial penalty.

"The sentence must reflect the public concern - some would say outrage - at the conduct which permitted this young man's death."

The prosecution, brought by the Health and Safety Executive, is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Officials from the Government agency said that Mr Fiebig had been harvesting potatoes at the time of his death.

Judge Guest asked for more information on the company's finances and adjourned the hearing to a date yet to be fixed.

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