Kayak company found guilty of corporate manslaughter
Kayak makers, Pyranha Mouldings Ltd, have been convicted of corporate manslaughter and fined £200,000 after a 54-year-old man burned to death in an industrial oven.
Alan Catterall was killed inside an oven designed for moulding plastic kayaks during an industrial accident in December 2010.
An investigation into the tragic accident found that there had been a problem with the oven, causing it to be switched off. However, shortly before it was to be turned back on, Mr Catterall climbed in, possibly to clean up a spillage.
Unaware that the father-of-three was inside, a co-worker, who was also the partner of Mr Catterall’s daughter, turned the machine back on which automatically locked the doors.
The oven was not in the line of sight of the operator, and had no integrated escape hatch or alarm, so no one could have known he was there. It is understood that the 54-year-old suffered severe burns in temperatures which could have reached 280C and subsequently died of shock.
His body was found at the door, still in the position in which he had desperately tried to prise his way out with a tool.
Pyranha Mouldings Ltd was today handed a £200,000 fine after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety breaches.
In addition to this, the firm’s technical director, Peter Mackereth, was fined £25,000 and given suspended sentence for health and safety breaches.
The judge said there was no mechanism to prevent someone being locked in and no thought had been given to that risk.
He said to 60-year-old Mackereth:
“You don’t need me to tell you how far short of your duty you fell.
“It was repeatedly brought home to you in the trial. You will have to live
with the consequences of your actions for the rest of your life.”
As well as his fine, Mackereth was sentenced to nine months’ jail, suspended for two years.
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