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Bosley Mill owner fined for explosion which killed four people

The Bosley Mill owner has been fined and given a suspended sentence for an explosion which killed four people.

George Boden, 64, from Stockport, was sentenced to nine months in prison[1], suspended for 18 months and handed a £12,000 fine at Chester Crown Court[2] today (June 18) after pleading guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974.

He was also banned from being a company director for four years.

Dorothy Bailey, 62, Derek William Barks, 51, Derek Moore, 62, and Jason Shingler, 38, died in the blast in Bosley near Macclesfield[3] in 2015.

Others were seriously injured, and the sheer scale and impact of the explosion and the loss of lives that resulted, devastated the local community.

Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker[4]

The mill company, Wood Treatment Limited, was given a £75,000 fine for breaching HSWA S2, in failing to protect its employees from the risk of fire.[5]

Boden had previously admitted that the health and safety offence against the company was committed with his consent, connivance or neglect as managing director of Wood Treatment Limited (Health and Safety at Work Act, Section 37).

The sentencing was the culmination of a three month trial involving the company, director George Boden, operations manager Phillip Smith, 58, from Macclesfield[6], and mill manager Peter Shingler, 56, from Bosley.

In April, Justice May ordered the charges of corporate manslaughter and gross negligence be discontinued and directed the jury to find Phillip Smith and Peter Shingler, not guilty of any charges.

A joint investigation was launched between Cheshire Constabulary and the Health and Safety Executive, assisted by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.[7]

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes, who led the police investigation, said: “The incident that day tore the heart out of the local community and resulted in a long and exhausting journey for those who lost loved ones and also those who suffered life-changing injuries.

“Following the incident our teams worked tirelessly to provide an extensive file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charges and a trial began in January.

“The families will never forget what happened that day and while this is not the outcome that they had hoped for I hope that this will, in some way, help to bring some form of closure for them.

“We’d ask the media to respect their privacy as they come to terms with the conclusion of this case.”

Sally Nicholson, Head of Operations for the North West, HSE, said: “Wood Treatment Ltd and its Director failed to ensure the health and safety of their employees, exposing them on a daily basis to the risk of a wood dust explosion, through lack of appropriate assessment and control.

“The company and Mr Boden in his capacity as Managing Director, have rightly been held to account for these significant failings.”

References

  1. ^ prison (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ Chester Crown Court (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  3. ^ Bosley near Macclesfield (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  4. ^ Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  5. ^ failing to protect its employees from the risk of fire. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  6. ^ Macclesfield (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  7. ^ Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)

This is why ew Sheffield railhead is trucking boss’s crown achievement

It saw total victory for the Sheffield haulier, which grew with the popularity of road transport, while the giant rail depot withered with the decline of the steel industry and died.

But the story has a twist.

For the trucking firm has just spent £3m reviving the railhead. And co-founder Frank Newell say it’s his crowning achievement.

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Tinsley Marshalling Yards circa 1965. It had 32 marshalling lanes.Tinsley Marshalling Yards circa 1965. It had 32 marshalling lanes.

Tinsley Marshalling Yards circa 1965. It had 32 marshalling lanes.

Over just seven weeks earlier this year, the company laid out three acres of concrete and 700 yards of track and reconnected the yard to the rail network.

Today it is home to more than 800 shipping containers and receives two 34-wagon freight trains a day from the port of Felixstowe.

The service saves up to 400,000 road miles a week, cutting lorry pollution and congestion, and is already close to its 1,000 container capacity.

Frank, aged 69, said its popularity was a relief.

Frank Newell. Picture Scott MerryleesFrank Newell. Picture Scott Merrylees
Frank Newell. Picture Scott Merrylees

“It was a very big commitment for us as a family business. I’ve been in business for 50 years and have always taken educated gambles. You get to the stage where you have to play forward and do it.

“It’s the best thing I have done. I’m so proud of what we have achieved.”

A mechanic by trade, his youngest son, Anthony, aged 17, is employed in the workshop ‘on the spanners’ learning lorry maintenance.

Sons Stephen, 43, and John, 49, also worked their way up.

The site can store 1,000 containers.The site can store 1,000 containers.
The site can store 1,000 containers.

Frank added: “Going through the ranks gives them a good insight.”

He started with one lorry in 1971 and, with Paul Wright, built the firm into a £50m-a-year business that employs 300.

It is one of just a handful of road hauliers that have moved into rail and Tinsley is the only operation of its type in South Yorkshire, it is claimed.

Stephen said growing concerns about climate change led the firm to move fast.

Unloading the train with a £500,000 box stacker.Unloading the train with a £500,000 box stacker.
Unloading the train with a £500,000 box stacker.

“You have to be careful you don’t get left behind,” he added.

Containers are mostly from China and India and hold everything from patio slabs to clothing to car parts. But they do not have high value items like iPhones or ‘high consequence products’ like fireworks.

About 55 can fit on a train and they are unloaded by four £500,000 ‘box stackers’, including one which runs on hydrogenated vegetable oil, a green fuel.

Containers are taken to their final destination by lorry, some 80 a day in a 24-hour operation.

Stephen said they had used local suppliers, with concrete from Cemex in Attercliffe, reinforcing from BRC in Barnsley and ballast from Aggregate Industries’ quarry in Buxton.

The site is owned by Network Rail and leased to Newell & Wright for 35 years, with a reduction on rent because it is a brownfield site, he added.

Aerial view of Tinsley Marshalling Yards, Sheffield, December 1987.Aerial view of Tinsley Marshalling Yards, Sheffield, December 1987.
Aerial view of Tinsley Marshalling Yards, Sheffield, December 1987.

Its success meant they planned to add two more services, with freight trainers from Southampton and London Gateway on the Suffolk coast.

A second phase of expansion could see a similar-sized platform and storage area built to the south, closer to the bridge over the Parkway, near Junction 33 of the M1.

A third phase could use land to the north, close to two large warehouses that were built on what was the widest part of the marshalling yard.

In 1961, a tenth of the rail-borne freight in Britain originated in the Sheffield district. Tinsley Marshalling Yard was opened by the infamous Dr Richard Beeching in 1965 to serve the steel industry. At its height it handled 200 locomotives and 3,000 wagons a day.

But within a few short years it was hit by competition from road and closed in stages from 1985.

Duncan Clark, of Newell and Wright, said part of the site was cut out of rock and part was electrified, receiving electric trains from Manchester that came through the now closed Woodhead tunnel.

The yard was disused and disconnected from the rail network when Newell and Wright took it on. A new link was laid to the north connecting to a local line near Shepcote junction and then on to Rotherham station, Doncaster and the East Coast Mainline.

The company hopes to connect the site from the south providing a simpler and more direct route into the network, he added.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said the company’s achievement was ‘fantastic’ and he would speak to the mayor of South Yorkshire and Department of Transport about providing financial backing.

He added: “I think what they have done is incredible and what they want to do is fantastic. It’s really rising to the climate challenge.

“I will be speaking to the mayor about how we can engage, this is a really important part of local infrastructure and should benefit a lot of firms.

“It’s also of national significance and I’ll be speaking to the Department of Transport about providing some sort of financial backing and support.

“There have been various plans over the years to reopen the yard but these guys have done it.”

Kevin Newman, senior route freight manager for Network Rail, hailed the site as part of the ‘vital role that freight has played in the country’s response to the Covid pandemic and how important it is to the recovery of the economy’.

“Reopening routes, expanding services and gaining new freight customers, as well as running longer, heavier trains, is helping to get more HGVs off the road.”

Newell & Wright Transport was formed in 1974 by Frank Newell and Paul Wright. At that time it was a ‘very small general haulage company’ operating from rented premises.

Over the years it grew and moved to larger sites three times before setting up, in 1987, on its current 6.5 acre freehold site at Tinsley.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription[1] or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.

A freight train from the port of Felixstowe arrives at Tinsley Marshalling Yard. Picture Scott MerryleesA freight train from the port of Felixstowe arrives at Tinsley Marshalling Yard. Picture Scott Merrylees
A freight train from the port of Felixstowe arrives at Tinsley Marshalling Yard. Picture Scott Merrylees
Three acres of concrete were laid to make the site.Three acres of concrete were laid to make the site.
Three acres of concrete were laid to make the site.
Frank Newell at Tinsley Marshalling Yards.Frank Newell at Tinsley Marshalling Yards.
Frank Newell at Tinsley Marshalling Yards.
From left: MP Clive Betts and Stephen and Frank Newell have their picture taken as a train arrives.From left: MP Clive Betts and Stephen and Frank Newell have their picture taken as a train arrives.
From left: MP Clive Betts and Stephen and Frank Newell have their picture taken as a train arrives.

References

  1. ^ digital subscription (www.thestar.co.uk)

Tesco sounds alarm over driver shortages

The boss of Tesco has sounded the alarm over driver shortages as the labour crisis shows no signs of abating. 

Britain’s biggest supermarket chain said it was grappling with a chronic shortage of lorry drivers and was working hard to remedy the situation. 

The Road Haulage Association and company bosses met with ministers this week to stress a “growing peril” to supply chains from the worsening lorry driver shortage.

There is an estimated shortfall of some 65,000 drivers, mainly because EU workers had left the UK and the suspension of driver training and testing during the pandemic. The shortage has sent wages rise by a fifth. 

Ken Murphy, chief executive of Tesco, said that if the crisis worsens the retailer might have to pay more to attract drivers.

He insisted that there were no gaps on shelves because of the shortages and that the supply chain was “in good shape”. 

“What I’m hearing is we can manage it and we have to play it as we see it,” he added. “Once there is an understanding that there is availability of work [at Tesco among drivers] and rates are potentially more attractive, they will fill very quickly.”

About 48 tonnes of food – enough to fill two trucks – destined for Tesco is being thrown away every week as a result of the shortages. 

FareShare, the food redistribution charity, estimated that up to a third of the food that would otherwise be sent to its warehouses was not getting through due to problems in the haulage sector. 

Earlier this month FTSE 100 discount chain B&M also revealed it was struggling to hire both drivers and workers for night shifts at its distribution centres.

Tesco’s total retail like-for-like sales rose by 1pc to £13.4bn for the 13 weeks to May 29, and by 8.1pc compared to the same period two years ago.

Shares fell 2.4pc to 225p.

References

  1. ^ Markets Hub – Tesco (cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk)