Coventry & Warwickshire

European Metal Recycling fined over Kinsgbury metal crush death

William Ward Image copyright HSE
Image caption William Ward suffered catastrophic crush injuries when a section of the barge collapsed on top of him

One of the world's largest metal recycling companies has been fined £150,000 over the death of a worker crushed by part of a 33-tonne barge.

William Ward, 56, suffered "catastrophic" injuries when a section of the structure collapsed on top of him.

European Metal Recycling (EMR) had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to failing in its duty of care.

The firm was also ordered to pay £88,000 costs.

Mr Ward, from Handsworth, Sheffield, had been part of a team using blow torches to dismantle barges at the company's depot in Kingsbury, near Tamworth, in October 2011.

'Senseless death'

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said Mr Ward had finished cutting through the outer skin of the barge's hull before moving inside the unsupported structure.

He was about to cut through some more supports when the side collapsed in on him, they said.

The watchdog said it had identified "serious flaws with the method of work being used to dismantle the barges".

EMR, of Westbrook, Warrington, Cheshire, "failed to do enough to protect the workers", it added.

Image copyright HSE
Image caption The HSE said it had identified "serious flaws" with the method used to dismantle the barges

Mr Ward's wife of 25 years, Jayne, said being unable to say "goodbye" to her husband was "one of the worst things" to deal with.

"Other people can go home to talk to their partners and parents. I have no partner now and the boys have no father.

"I think of all the things that Billy will never see - the boys getting married, having children, children which would have been our grandchildren"

HSE inspector Mark Austin said the firm had "neglected its responsibility" to Mr Ward and his "terrible and senseless" death was "completely preventable".

Two subcontractors, brothers Stuart and Dennis Cheesman, also admitted health and safety offences in relation to the case and are due to be sentenced next year.

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites