Cemex to pay £200k over worker’s death

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CEMEX in Rugby has been fined £200,000 for breaking health and safety laws after the death of an employee who was blasted out of the side of the Lawford Road plant in a violent explosion.

Peter Reynolds, 28, died in January 2008 after the accident at the plant in town.

He was operating a piece of waste machinery, which had injured another employee in 2006, when the explosion happened.

The machine had become blocked and when Mr Reynolds tried to unblock it there was a chemical reaction inside it and it exploded. He was blasted through the wall of the plant and fell 30ft, landing in the road.

A health and safety investigation was launched and Cemex pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of its employees.

At the Warwickshire Justice Centre, Leamington, on Monday, the court heard that the cement company had failed to act properly upon another similar incident involving the same piece of machinery which had injured another employee in 2006.

His Honour Judge Trevor Faber fined Cemex £200,000 and it will also have to pay prosecution costs of £172,000.

Neil Craig, principal inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, said: “This was an entirely preventable tragedy.

“Cemex had an incident in 2006 which they should have investigated properly. Had they investigated that incident properly Peter Reynolds may well be alive today.”

He added that Cemex was a responsible company with a good safety record.

After the sentencing Mr Reynolds’s mum Jane said: “Peter was a wonderful son, husband, father, brother and uncle and we miss him dearly. We hope today’s proceedings will send a message to all employers to look after all their workers.”

Wife Kerry said she was glad the case was over and that the family would try and get on with their lives.

Speaking behalf of Cemex, Ian Southcott, UK community affairs manager, said: “Cemex is a company that genuinely cares for the wellbeing of its workforce and all those who come into contact with its operations.”