A COTSWOLD company fined for a breach of health and safety regulations which resulted in the death of one of its staff has complained to the parliamentary ombudsman, alleging that a government agency committed the same breach.
Suzannah Harvey, chief executive of Cotswold Airport, Kemble, claims the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should face the same health and safety regulation charges as the airport.
Kemble Air Services Limited (KAS) was heard to have committed two health and safety breaches that were said to have contributed to the death of its chief fire officer, Steve Mills, at Gloucester Crown Court in March.
The company was subsequently fined £75,000.
The court heard that the airport was given several containers by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and that inside the containers were fire-suppression cylinders.
Mr Mills, 45, was killed on April 8, 2011, when one of the cylinders suddenly discharged and hit him on the head while he was moving it.
A jury decided KAS, which denied the charges, did not put guidelines in place for the safe use of the cylinders.
But KAS allege that the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), which was carrying out work on behalf of the HSE, committed similar breaches when collecting the cylinder that killed Steve from the airport.
They have now raised the issue with the parliamentary ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, and asked for it to be thoroughly investigated.
The request has been endorsed by Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton Brown.
Ms Harvey said she obtained a copy of an HSL report which examined the collection of the cylinder.
She explained that she believes the report proves that similar health and safety breaches were made by the HSL staff when collecting the cylinder.
She claims a proper risk assessment wasn’t carried out before it was removed – ”only did a dynamic risk assessment, the same as we did, which is in fact unlawful."
She said the report details how an HSL staff member discharged the cylinder accidentally whilst examining it after being told it was empty and that the cylinder was transported by HSL staff from airport without its safety cap on.
She believes this makes the airport’s conviction legally ‘unsafe’ .
Ronan Harvey, a shareholder of the airport, said that given their potential risk, he thought theMoD should not have given out the containers to an unqualified body.
A spokesman for the MoD said in a statement to the Standard: “Our thoughts are with Mr Mills’ family and friends at this time.
“The results of internal investigations were passed to the independent coroner who reviewed the circumstances of Mr Mills’ death alongside reports from the police and the Health and Safety Executive.”