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UK Coal Mining to face compensation claim after workplace death?

UK Coal Mining to face compensation claim after workplace death?
A compensation settlement could be pursued by the family of a man who passed away in a fatal accident at work.

John Harbron died at the age of 47 when he was hit by falling pipes while he worked for UK Coal Mining at Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire in July 2009.

At the time of this incident, Mr Harbron - an experienced locomotive driver - was working underground with a group of colleagues to unload a pack of 40 steel pipes weighing more than 11 stone each from a rail-borne car.

However, when he cut the plastic bands securing the materials in place, they rolled off the side of the car and landed on top of him.

In total, the pack weighed around three tonnes and Mr Harbron subsequently died at the scene of the incident after suffering multiple injuries, despite the efforts of his colleagues to save his life.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the packs of pipes could not be safely placed on the type of car being used by the workers and were therefore at risk of falling off.

During a case heard at Nottingham Crown Court, it was also revealed that UK Coal Mining had received at least four written reports from other locomotive drivers in the 18 months prior to Mr Harbron's death warning the firm that pipe packs had become unstable in previous journeys.

The organisation admitted breaching two clauses of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined a total of £125,000 for its negligence, meaning Mr Harbron's family may decide to claim for civil damages.

HSE inspector Peter McGuinness said: "The failure of UK Coal to draw and act upon the experience and concerns of its employees and contractors was a tragic waste with tragic consequences."

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Posted by Francesca Witney