Company admits health and safety offences after fatal accident (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Gas pipes being laid in Box at time of incident
1:39pm Tuesday 24th July 2012 in Corsham
The company employing a man who was killed in a ‘freak accident’ has admitted a series of health and safety offences.
Ground worker Stuart Guard had been using a machine used to lay gas pipes in Box before he was tragically killed.
The 28-year-old, from Gloucester, had been sent to pack up a trench cutting machine on July 30, 2009, after the team had been working on an unclassified road near Mill Lane.
But when the foreman went to look for him he found the machine still running and Mr Guard seriously injured.
Although he was airlifted to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon it was believed he had died at the scene.
Direct Plant Services Ltd, based in Portishead, near Bristol, was employing Mr Guard and running the machine at the time of the accident.
Along with the then managing director, Richard Headon, the firm appeared before Swindon Crown Court facing a series of charges.
The company pleaded guilty to four health and safety offences covering the four and a half years leading up to the death.
While three of the charges related to the condition of the machine and the safety guards on it, the fourth involved the failure to ensure health and safety of an employee.
All of the counts relate to a time period starting on New Year’s Day 2005 with two ending on the day of the accident and the other two a few days later on August 8, 2009.
No charges were formally put to Headon, of Polden Road, Portishead, and he did enter any pleas during the hearing at Swindon crown court.
Fiona Horlick, for Headon, said her client was a man in his early 70s and had been ‘badly affected’ by the death of Mr Guard, who he knew personally.
She said he was managing director of the company at the time of the accident, and had been for some time, he had now stepped down and his son had taken over.
Bernard Thorogood, prosecuting, said the company had submitted a written basis of plea which would have to be considered carefully.
Judge Douglas Field adjourned the cases against the company and Headon to Thursday, October 4 and released the former managing director on unconditional bail.