MPs Demand Action after Royal Mint Worker's Death; Commons Group Calls for Company to Be Stripped of Immunity from Prosecution

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), April 17, 2003 | Go to article overview
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MPs Demand Action after Royal Mint Worker's Death; Commons Group Calls for Company to Be Stripped of Immunity from Prosecution


Byline: Kirsty Buchanan # Political Editor # k.buchanan@freeuk.com

AN INFLUENTIAL group of MPs will today call for the Royal Mint to be stripped of its immunity from prosecution after the Llantrisant plant escaped criminal charges following the death of long-term employee John Wynne.

A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee has criticised the publicly-owned plant for business blunders and poor security and called for the company's Crown immunity to be removed after the death of 50-year-old Mr Wynne.

It follows a Health and Safety Executive investigation last year which concluded there was enough evidence for criminal charges to be brought against the Royal Mint but the company was protected by the immunity clause from criminal prosecution.

Mr Wynne, 50, of Gilfach Goch, who worked for Royal Mint for 21 years, was killed in June 2001 after he was struck by a 6.5 tonne furnace which fell from a hook of an overhead crane at the factory.

In September, 2002, Crown Censure proceedings, brought by the Health and Safety Executive, concluded there was sufficient evidence for prosecution but that immunity blocked criminal charges for offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Mr Wynne's daughter Joanne, 24, of Gilfach Goch, said, ``Royal Mint is exactly the same as any other company except they hold immunity and if it were not for that they would have been prosecuted. It is very unfair and frustrating.''

The MPs' report reveals the HSE investigation determined ``the furnace had not been properly attached and secured to the crane lifting hook''.

It says ``Royal Mint had failed to perform a suitable and efficient assessment of the risks posed by the crane operation''.

The report also states that not all employees involved in the process could be shown from written records to have received sufficient training.

Giving evidence to the committee, Royal Mint said it had undertaken a wide range of measures to address the findings of the HSE investigation.

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