UK Coal warned to improve safety record in mines… UK Coal has admitted to breaches to health and safety law after a miner died after heavy equipment crushed him at the North Yorkshire colliery in October 2009.
Leeds Crown Court heard that the man, 46, suffered fatal crush injuries when heavy equipment fell on him at the Kellingley pit where he was working.
The coal company admitted that they had failed in their duty to ensure that the powered roof supports at the pit where the accident victim was killed were maintained to an adequate standard. The collapse of these roofs led directly to the death of the miner.
However UK Coal will have to await the verdict in the trial of another related party, Joy Mining Machinery Ltd, before being sentenced themselves. The equipment company has denied a charge of failing to provide all necessary information about the risks involved with the use of powered roof supports at the Yorkshire pit. The trial will be held later this year.
In the last three years there have been three fatalities at the Kellingley pit and just last year UK Coal was fined a massive £1.2 million in fines and costs after the deaths of four miners in four separate incidents in Warwickshire. The HSE is eager to see the safety record of the company improve and to ensure that every possible safety measure is implemented to prevent the death of further miners during the course of their work.
After the deaths in Warwickshire, the HSE Inspector Bob Leeming commented:
“Fewer than 4,000 people are employed in the UK mining sector, which makes four deaths within 18 months even more stark.
“These tragic incidents followed a four and a half year period where there were no deaths in the whole UK mining industry.
“It is even more shocking that these preventable deaths were the fault of one company – UK Coal.
“All it would have taken to prevent these deaths was better management and proper hazard control by UK Coal.
“HSE brought this case because of the serious breaches that were uncovered during the investigations. We will bring further proceedings if similar situations arise in the future.
“UK Coal need to demonstrate that they have learned – and will act upon – the lessons from these deaths.”