Health and Safety Executive censures Ministry of Defence over deaths of soldiers crushed when moving vehicles

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has censured the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the death of two soldiers killed while working with army vehicles.

Although criminal proceedings cannot not be taken against the Crown, administrative 
procedures known as Crown censures
,  are used in circumstances where, but for immunity, there would have been sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in the courts.

Corporal Thomas Eirian Rees died in May 2003 as a result of injuries he sustained when he was crushed between two armoured personnel carriers being unloaded at Teesport, Middlesbrough, Cleveland.

Lance-Bombardier Robert Wilson was crushed between a rocket launcher vehicle and a large lift truck at Albemarle Barracks, Northumberland, in May 2004.

The HSE’s investigations of these incidents brought to light “significant systemic shortcomings” in the corporate arrangements for assessing transport risks in the MoD.

Dr David Snowball, HSE’s director for Yorkshire & North East Region, said: “The vehicles involved in these incidents are heavy and powerful and Army personnel have to work closely alongside them. The risk of personal injury is therefore potentially high.

“In bringing these censures, HSE wishes to emphasise to the MoD, and other employers, the importance of assessing, managing and controlling the operational risks arising from the use of workplace transport.”

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