Wednesday, 18 July 2012

UK Coal sentenced over Kellingley mineworker's death

UK Coal Ltd and machinery supplier Joy Mining Ltd were ordered to pay a total of £568,000 in fines and costs for serious breaches of safety that led to the death of West Yorkshire pit worker Ian Cameron.

UK Coal had admitted failing to take steps to ensure the safety of workers using powered roof supports. Joy Mining admitted failing to send out its bulletin warning of a dangerous defect in their powered roof supports.

Mr Cameron, 46, died as a result of his injuries when a powered roof support (PRS) lowered spontaneously, crushing him against large amounts of debris that had accumulated within the walkway of the support. The PRS was one of several hundred supplied to UK Coal by Joy Mining, each weighing some 15 tonnes and designed to support 510 tonnes.

It was found that a valve within the powered roof support had become worn and defective. The result was that hydraulic fluid was able to pass under pressure through a valve and cause the PRS canopy to descend without the control button being operated.

A similar malfunction on a PRS made by Joy had happened in Australia previously. The company issued a warning bulletin but failed to circulate it within the UK or provide it to UK Coal; nor did Joy notify them of the incident until after Mr Cameron’s death.

From the outset of production the PRS’s had numerous faults that were recorded but not corrected. UK Coal was aware of the problems but regarded them as production issues rather than a significant risk to the safety of workers.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Principal Inspector of Mines Paul Bradley said:

"UK Coal disregarded the numerous warnings and frequent failures of the PRS’s and failed to take effective measures to ensure the debris was removed and the walking track kept clear.

In respect of Joy Mining Machinery Ltd it stated  “It failed to distribute within this country the Safety Bulletin warning of the solenoid risks or notify one of its major customers is an error of quite staggering proportion and a serious failing in its duty of care."

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

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