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Cider manufacturer fined following grandad’s death

08 December 2023

A CIDER manufacturer has been fined after a much-loved grandfather was killed on his 65th birthday.

Tommy Manns, from Dymock, Gloucestershire, was driving for H Weston and Sons Limited, the manufacturer of Henry Westons Cider, when he was killed by the end of a security barrier on 28 September 2020.

H Weston and Sons Limited was fined £1.4 million on Thursday after the company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The van was being driven out of the firm’s site at Bounds Farm, March Marcle, Ledbury, when the end of a security barrier speared through the vehicle’s windshield and fatally crushed Tommy.

Two of Tommy’s grandchildren had called him up to wish their grandad a happy birthday just hours before the accident.

Tommy, who had two children as well as three grandchildren, was a farm manager at H Weston and Sons Limited and had started working at the company in 2008.

A HSE investigation into the incident found H Weston and Sons had installed the barrier a month earlier, and failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. The company also failed to implement a safe system of work to ensure the barrier could be secured safely when open and closed.

Tommy’s wife Rose Manns said: “I am still in shock following the death of my husband. I’ve never been an emotional person, but since the accident I am nervous and reliving the accident all the time. In the beginning I couldn’t even drive because my husband was driving at the time of his accident and I couldn’t face driving again for a long time."

H Weston and Sons Limited, of Much Marcle, Ledbury, Herefordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety  at Work Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.4 million and ordered to pay £26,7570 in costs at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 30 November 2023.

HSE inspector Sara Lumley: “This is a sad and devastating case that is made all the more tragic as the incident took place on Tommy’s birthday. It was also his day off. Rosemary and Oliver have made clear the impact that Tommy’s passing has had and our thoughts remain with them and their family.

“Horizontal barriers can be dangerous – but deaths are extremely preventable. The guidance for those operating barriers like this at car parks is clear and it’s vital to make sure the barriers are adequately secured at all times whether open or shut.”