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Winsford company director jailed after worker was crushed to death

Dad-of-three Paul Williamson was killed at Thorn Warehousing in Winsford in 2014

Kenneth Thelwall was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Manchester Crown Court last week

A Winsford company director who ‘failed in his duty’ to protect his workers has been jailed after father-of-three Paul Williamson was crushed to death at his firm at Winsford Industrial Estate.

Mr Williamson was killed when a remote controlled Mobile Elevated Working Platform (MEWP) he was loading on to a truck fell from the ramps on to him at Thorn Warehousing in January 2014, aged 51.

Thorn Warehousing’s company director Kenneth Thelwall, of Burleigh Road in Enfield, was charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act and handed a 12-month prison sentence at Manchester Crown Court on Friday (August 26).

He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs.

Insufficient training

The court heard how Mr Williamson had not received adequate training on how to use the ramps, lorry or the MEWP.

There was no risk assessment in place and no safe system of work had been created for the equipment, which had only been in operation for eight days.

The gradient of the ramps were above the manufacturer’s specification and they were not secured to the lorry, so the MEWP toppled off during loading.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Helen Jones said: “Kenneth Thelwall failed in his duty as a director to protect his workers.

“He was involved in the day-to-day running of Thorn Warehousing Ltd and should have ensured the company provided Paul Williamson with the right equipment and training to carry out his job.

“Had he done so Mr Williamson would still be alive today.

“This case should act as a stark warning to all company directors of their personal responsibility to protect their workers’ health and safety and the tragic consequences when they fail.”

Thorn Warehousing, which is currently in administration, was fined £166,000 and ordered to pay £10,400 in costs.

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