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Cement firm fined after worker's death

A multinational cement firm has been fined £200,000 following the death of a worker in an explosion at its Rugby premises.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted CEMEX UK Operations Ltd, which makes cement and building products for the construction industry, after the death of 28-year-old Peter Reynolds in 2008.

The force of the explosion was so great that it blew Mr Reynolds out through the side of the building onto the road ten metres below. An ambulance crew attended but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Reynolds was treating waste cement dust in the bypass dust plant. While he was clearing a blockage in the lower mixer, there was a violent explosion of steam and dust from inside the machine.

HSE's investigation into the incident found that CEMEX had recognised the potential for blockages to cause explosions as steam pressure built up within the mixer, but took no action to prevent them.

The court also heard the company had failed to review its risk assessment following a previous incident in May 2006, when another man was injured using the same machine. This explosion bent a metal-cladded external wall, pushing it out by 50cm.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £172,000 costs.

 

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