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Acquitted of corporate penalty after industrial accident

In December 2018, the sand and gravel manufacturer NorStone AS was acquitted of corporate penalty in Gulating Court of Appeal.

The prosecution authority had imposed a fine on the company after a falling accident in February 2015. An employee had walked on to a seal on top of a silo, which was not designed to carry a person. The employee fell through the seal and died as a result of the fall.

The deciding minority of the Court of Appeal concluded that there was no objective violation of the working environment legislation, including the requirement for written instructions in Section 3-2 (3) of the Working Environment Act, the requirement for a fully satisfactory working environment in Section 4-1 of the Working Environment Act, and the requirement for risk assessment in Section 5 no. 6 of the Internal control regulations.

The prosecution authority appealed the Court of Appeal’s acquittal, however, the case was rejected by the Supreme Court of Norway on 15 February 2019. 

With that, NorStone has received a final acquittal of the accusations almost precisely four years after the accident took place. NorStone has also been acquitted from paying damages for non-economic loss to the employee’s relatives.

Monica Furustøl represented NorStone AS in the litigations before Gulating Court of Appeal.