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Coalmine manager disregarded safety, causes death of four workers

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

Following the deaths of four men in a coalmine accident, the manager responsible has been accused of completely disregarding their safety.  It was heard at Swansea Crown Court that the mine manager, Malcolm Fyfield, had been warned several times about the potential flooding of Gleison drift mine, but chose to take no action.  Four men lost their lives in the accident in 2011, three other workers survived, including the manager Mr Fyfield.

It was heard that around 650,000 gallons of water swept through a sealed-off area of the mine, known by the workers as “the Old Central Workings” after explosives were used there.  Three men managed to escape the flood, including Mr Fyfield who crawled through the sludge to free himself, but four were killed.

“Risks he took can only be described staggering”

The men killed were: David Powell (50), Charles Breslin (62), Philip Hill (44) and Garry Jenkins (39).  Mr Fyfield and the owners of the mine deny manslaughter charges.  Prosecutor Gregg Taylor QC said: “Malcolm Fyfield [showed] a disregard for the safety of his workers. The risks he took can only be described as staggering.

The court heard that Mr Fyfield did not believe there to be any danger in the existence of underground water. Mr Taylor, however, argued that it was his responsibility to follow the safety procedures and regulations of the mine.

The trial is due to end before July.

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