The energy firm UK Coal has been fined £200,000 by Leeds Crown Court after it was found to have breached health and safety regulations. The breaches related to a collapse at a Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, in which a worker tragically lost his life.
Father-of-two Gerry Gibson, 49, died of asphyxiation in September 2011 after a section of roof collapsed on him whilst he was working 800m underground. Following the incident, which occurred after another collapse just days before, an investigation was launched into what happened.
Both of the collapses at Kellingley Colliery were found to have been caused by the misuse of a powered roof support. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also revealed that managers were aware of the earlier collapse but took no action to investigate what caused it.
UK Coal, which owned the mine, was found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations and was subsequently fined £200,000.
Commenting on the outcome of the case and stressing the importance of proper safety measures such as health and safety training and risk assessments, the HSE’s mines inspector John Whyatt said:
“This was a tragic and preventable incident that demonstrates the importance of employers having effective and robust safety management systems. Strong safety leadership is of paramount importance in incident prevention.”