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Well-known cider manufacturer hit with £1.4m fine for worker’s death

Well-known cider manufacturer hit with £1.4m fine for worker’s death
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Well-known cider manufacturer H Weston and Sons Limited has been fined £1.4 million after a man was killed on his 65th birthday

The company, which makes Henry Westons Cider, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident in September 2020.

Tommy Manns, a farm manager employed by H Westons and Sons Limited from Dymock, Gloucestershire, was driving a company van at the time.

He was leaving the firm’s site at Bounds Farm, March Marcle, Ledbury. Manns was killed when the end of a security barrier speared through the vehicle’s windshield and fatally crushed him.

Manns had two children as well as three grandchildren, and had started working at the company in 2008.

Investigating the incident, HSE found H Weston and Sons had installed the barrier a month earlier and failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. There was no safe system of work implemented to ensure the barrier could be secured safely when open and closed.

Manns’ wife, Rose Manns said: “I am still in shock following the death of my husband. I’ve never been an emotional person, but since the accident I am nervous and reliving the accident all the time. In the beginning I couldn’t even drive because my husband was driving at the time of his accident and I couldn’t face driving again for a long time.

“I’ve always been a people’s person and now I have no confidence. People stop and ask me how I feel and how I am. I don’t feel confident to talk to people about what happened and people don’t know what to say to me.

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“Tommy loved his grandchildren so much. He spoke to the two grandkids who were four and six on the day of his death. They rang to sing happy birthday to him in the morning. He never got the chance to open his birthday cards.

“We had put a deposit down on a motorhome. My son had to ring the company a couple of days after Tommy died to cancel the order.

“Tommy has left a great legacy. He was so loved, he was my rock, my soulmate.”

Oliver Hunter, Manns’ stepson, added: “As a parent there are many memorable moments you want to keep hold of, however trying to explain to my four-year-old son (now seven) and six-year-old daughter (now nine) that their Grampy Tom had died on his birthday and that he is no longer with us, is one I wish I could forget.”

H Weston and Sons Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.4 million and ordered to pay £26,756.50 in costs at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 30 November 2023.

Speaking afterward, HSE inspector Sara Lumley said: “This is a sad and devastating case that is made all the more tragic as the incident took place on Tommy’s birthday. It was also his day off. Rosemary and Oliver have made clear the impact that Tommy’s passing has had and our thoughts remain with them and their family.

“Horizontal barriers can be dangerous – but deaths are extremely preventable. The guidance for those operating barriers like this at car parks is clear and it’s vital to make sure the barriers are adequately secured at all times whether open or shut.”

For help with health and safety, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like How can I control the risks of accidents and injuries on my farm?

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