HC Deb 11 November 1991 vol 198 c411W
Mr. Cryer

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will obtain information from the Health and Safety Executive about the activities of the executive in connection with the accident to Hoiger Subir Majhi at Ambrosia creamery, Lifton, Devon, on 28 November 1990, and if he will make a statement on the reasons why it was decided not to undertake legal proceedings.

Mr. Forth

The Health and Safety Executive were notified by telephone of the accident to Mr. Majhi at 3.35 pm on Thursday 29 November 1990. HSE determined the steps being taken by the company to carry out its own investigation into the accident and obtained an assurance that the machine would not be brought back into use until HSE were satisfied that it was safe to do so. The following day HSE obtained assurance that the necessary steps had been taken to safeguard the machine and that a thorough investigation was continuing. HSE therefore arranged to visit the factory on Tuesday 4 December to investigate the accident.

HSE's inspector was given notes of the investigation undertaken by the company and copies of statements taken. He interviewed a number of people at the factory and saw a video recording of the machine taken by the company after the accident, and discussed the accident with the senior union representative on site. Safety representatives had been involved in the company's investigation from the outset. The inspector was not able to interview Mr. Majhi at that stage because he was in hospital.

The company sent a memo on safety to all staff and introduced a new system of machine checks to prevent a recurrence of the accident.

Having considered all the evidence, a prosecution was not brought by HSE because:

  1. (a) there was doubt whether danger which gave rise to the accident was reasonably foreseeable within the terms of the Factories Act.
  2. (b) it was not possible to determine how and whom might have been responsible for the damaged guard mechanism; and
  3. (c) the company has a generally good approach to health and safety and responded quickly and effectively to the accident.