Firms fined over Barnsley man’s death

Michael Buckingham
Michael Buckingham
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Yorkshire’s National Coal Mining Museum Trust and two companies have been ordered to pay a total of £590,000 in fines and costs after a Barnsley man was crushed to death.

Michael Buckingham, aged 58, of Grimethorpe, died after becoming trapped between a tunnel construction machine and a dumper loader he was operating below ground in January 2011.

Michael Buckingham

Michael Buckingham

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Mr Buckingham, an experienced miner and electrician, was constructing 140 metres of new tunnels to revitalise the visitors’ tour at the museum in Wakefield and increase the number of exhibition galleries.

The museum trust had hired specialist contractor Amalgamated Construction Ltd (AMCO), of Barnsley, to build the tunnels.

AMCO, which employed Mr Buckingham, was using the two machines, both supplied by Metal Innovations Ltd, of Cowbridge, in Wales.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found the dumper was unsafe. It did not have a readily-accessible emergency stop function.

It found a suitable risk assessment of the machine had not been carried out.

AMCO was fined £110,000 with £245,000 costs and MIL was fined £80,000 with £110,000 costs after admitting health and safety breaches.

The museum trust was fined £10,000 with £35,000 costs.