(Somerset, UK) — A Wiltshire man and firm from Somerset have been found guilty for causing the death of a father at Whatley Quarry in Frome.
Neal Webber, 28, was killed while carrying out maintenance in a large limestone fines hopper.
Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd and Robert Alan Taylor, who were trading as Quarry Maintenance Service Engineers at the time, were prosecuted after it was accepted by all parties that the failings of either defendant did not cause Mr Webber’s death.
The incident occurred when Mr Webber and a colleague were removing compacted material from the inside of the hopper.
Mr Webber was buried under approximately 12 tons of limestone dust and was suffocated when the material they were working on collapsed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution against Quarry Maintenance Service Engineers, where it was found that the company had failed to institute proper health and safety procedure.
Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £27,500 and ordered to pay £ 27,000 costs.
Robert Taylor pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4 (2) of the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 and was fined £1, 500 and order to pay costs of £10,000.
Proper risk assessments must be carried out to avoid incidents such as that which befell Mr Webber.
The HSE has consistently warned about the dangers of quarry work and the need for vigilance at all times.