from Hesamag, April 2014
On 12 April 2005 he was told by his boss to put more than 3,500 aerosol cans into a mechanical crusher. They exploded and caught fire, sealing a door and trapping Mark inside. When he was freed, he walked to an ambulance before collapsing with 90 per cent burns.
“In the one act of kindness shown to us, the hospital kept our son on a life support system long enough for us to drive the five hours needed to be there to say our goodbyes,” said Dorothy. “He was 37 years old. He had been with his wife since he was 19 and had two children whom he just adored.”
Since their son’s untimely death, Dorothy and her husband, Douglas, have been fighting for justice. Their long and ultimately frustrating struggle has helped expose the serious dangers of working in the burgeoning waste recycling business in the UK. It has also highlighted deep flaws in the way the country’s judicial system handles health and safety at work.
The Crown Prosecution Service initially decided that there was not enough evidence to charge the company, Deeside Metal, or any of its managers with manslaughter. Then after an inquest into the death in 2009, it announced that it was pursuing a charge of manslaughter against the general manager, Robert Roberts.
But this was rejected by a trial judge as an “abuse of process” because it was too long after the accident. Roberts was left to face a lesser charge of breaching health and safety legislation, to which he pleaded guilty and was fined £10,000 by Caernarfon Crown Court in December 2010.