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Cement Firm Fined £200,000 Over Worker’s Death

HSE Investigation Highlights Failure To Act On Concerns


Multinational cement firm Cemex UK has been fined £200,000 over an industrial explosion at its Rugby site in January 2008 which claimed the life of a 28-year-old worker.

Peter Reynolds was pronounced dead at the scene after the blast blew him through the side of the building and down to the ground ten metres below.

An investigation revealed he was treating waste cement dust in the plant at the time of the incident and was clearing a blockage in the lower mixer when steam and dust within the machinery combined to cause the explosion.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, the company had not taken action to prevent explosions caused by blockages, despite a similar incident in May 2006 leaving another worker injured.

Stephen Nye, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in helping those injured in accidents at work to gain access to justice over the problems they have faced, said the case highlighted how there is simply no excuse for employers to ignore their safety responsibilities.

He said: “As this terrible incident demonstrates, major industrial accidents can have devastating consequences on both workers and their families.

“We have repeatedly called for employers to ensure they maintaining a strong focus on health and safety, ensuring the wellbeing of their staff is a fundamental priority. One of the most terrible aspects of an incident like this explosion is that there is every chance it could have been avoided if the right guidelines were considered.

“All workers should be able to do their jobs in the safest possible manner and we hope that lessons can be learnt from awful cases like this.”