Mining firm guilty of breaching safety rules

(Wales)


A mining company has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws after an employee was seriously injured.


A miner was crushed after cheap wooden roof supports gave way in Crynant, Neath Port Talbot in 2017. Swansea Crown Court heard Three D's Mining Ltd's mine director dismissed miners' concerns over the use of untested pallet boards to support a roof.

Sentencing will take place on 10 September.


Following a week-long trial, the jury took just over an hour to find the company guilty of failing to ensure the safety and welfare of employees and of others and failing to make a sufficient assessment of risk.


Gwyn Woodland was trapped by a lump of rock at Danygraig Colliery in November 2017. Mr Woodland has been unable to work since and has health issues after suffering three fractures to his back.


Three Ds Mining denied health and safety breaches but Vivian Gedamke, who was manager at the time, told the court that miners had expressed concern about the use of pallet board wood to support the roof of the mine.


Giving evidence, Mr Gedamke told the jury that director David Jones said: “You can either use them or you can go home.”


Under questioning by John Buchanan, counsel for Three Ds Mining, Mr Gedamke said he had not seen official advice that roof “flats” should be 60mm thick, and agreed he had signed to say working conditions underground were satisfactory.


Earlier in the trial, the prosecution said the roof should have been supported by horizontal bars no less than 2.4in (63.5mm) thick, but that in the summer of 2017 the company had started using pre-cut pallet boards which were as thin as 0.78in (20mm) in some places.

Mr Gedamke said he thought the boards were “a bit light” and several miners had complained about them, but claimed it had been Mr Jones's idea.


Under cross-examination, he agreed that, in an earlier statement to the HSE, he said the miners had not complained.

BBC News June 2021

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