Kellingley Colliery

The former UK Coal mining company has been fined £200,000 after admitting a catalogue of serious safety failings that led to the death of a miner at Kellingley Colliery in 2011.

Gerry Gibson was killed when 15 tonnes of rock forming a section of roof collapsed underground at Kellingley Colliery in 2011.

The incident, which took place on 27 September 2011, happened just six days after a similar roof fall in the mine with the same powered roof support in operation.

Gibson’s employer was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as Juniper (No3) Ltd, the name given after UK Coal Mining went into administration in July 2013.

The company was also fined £50,000 in relation to an underground pit explosion that took place in November 2010, which led to the evacuation of over 200 miners.

HSE, which brought the prosecution, said managers did not carry out an investigation into the first incident and insufficient precautions were taken to prevent it happening again.

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The regulator has also found that the company had not improved the system of monitoring the roof supports to ensure warning signs of ground movement would be picked up quickly.

HSE Mines Inspector John Whyatt said Gibson and the men working alongside him were oblivious to the extent of the dangers posed when working near to that particular roof support.

“They had no reason to believe there were at risk from the roadway roof collapsing as it was being operated,” Whyatt said.

“This was a tragic and preventable incident that demonstrates the importance of employers having effective and robust safety management systems. Strong safety leadership is of paramount importance in incident prevention.”

Image: Kellingley Colliery is currently one of the newest deep coal mines in Britain. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Glazzard.

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