Company Fined Over Welder's Death In Explosion

Explosion At Work


The death of a novice welder in an explosion at work has resulted in a Devon company being fined a total of £85,000 with £67,000 costs for breaching health and safety regulations.

Anthony Reed, 40, died in April 2006 when a coolant drum exploded at R J Bateman, which makes crop-spraying equipment at its factory in Devon.

Mr Reed had been told to weld on a make-shift work bench supported by a 200-litre coolant drum being used to collect waste, including highly flammable liquids, which ignited and exploded.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to protect Mr Reed and other staff, and was fined £60,000, plus £5,000 under Regulation 3 of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

Father and son directors Richard and Jason Bateman also pleaded guilty on the basis of their neglect. Each was fined £10,000.

It was noted that this was a particularly serious case, involving significant danger and a company that had operated with inadequate safety management systems for many years.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fines imposed following this terrible fatal accident at work.

“This explosion case is particularly troubling in that it was found the company had operated for many years with inadequate safety measures.

“Employers who operate with such disregard for safety can hardly be surprised when there is a work accident, and in such circumstances, they should feel the full force of the law.

“Sadly, all too often, I have to help workers pursue their compensation claim following an industrial accident that could and should have been avoided.”