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Thursday 18th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

THREE firms have been ordered to pay more than £500,000 in fines and costs over the death of a worker at Yorkshire’s National Coal Mining Museum for England.

Michael Buckingham died after he was trapped and crushed while working underground on a £2.7 million museum expansion project in January 2011.

The trust that runs the museum was ordered to pay a total of £45,000 at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday.

Its contractors, Barnsley-based Amalgamated Construction (AMCO) and Metal Innovations, were respectively fined £110,000 with £245,000 in costs and £80,000 with £110,000 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of safety law. 

The prosecutions were brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the tragic accident.

The court heard that the trust commissioned the two companies to carry out work underground to drive more roadways as part of a scheme to expand and improve the underground section of the museum.

Former miner Mr Buckingham died after becoming trapped between a dumper loader that he was operating and tunnel construction equipment, according to the HSE.

“Unlike those of the other two defendants, the breach (by the museum) had not played a causative role in the loss of Mr Buckingham’s life,” an HSE statement read.

It said that the museum trust’s safety breach centred on its failing to ensure that the mine was run in accordance with all relevant safety regulations.

AMCO had not carried out a suitable risk assessment of the machine or the work activities.