Coal firm admits charges over deaths


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The Independent Online

The UK's biggest coal mining firm has admitted health and safety offences following the death of a miner at one of its pits.

UK Coal admitted charges of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers and contractors at Kellingley Colliery, in North Yorkshire.

The prosecution follows the death of miner Ian Cameron, 46, in October 2009.

Mr Cameron died when equipment fell on him at the pit.

Today a judge at Leeds Crown Court accepted guilty pleas in writing from the firm.

But Judge Peter Collier QC said UK Coal will not be sentenced until a trial has been completed, relating to the same incident, but concerning a different firm.

Worcester-based equipment company Joy Mining Machinery Ltd today pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to ensure that people, including UK Coal, were provided with all necessary information about health and safety risks in relation to using powered roof supports at Kellingley.

The trial of Joy Mining Machinery in relation to this charge is expected to take place at a date to be fixed later this year.

Mr Cameron's death was one of three at Kellingley in the last three years.

Don Cook died in a rock fall in September 2008 and, last September, Gerry Gibson, 49, died in another underground incident.

Kellingley, on the border of North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, is the largest remaining deep mine in Yorkshire.

Last year, UK Coal was ordered to pay £1.2 million in fines and costs after it admitted health and safety breaches in relation to the deaths of four miners in four different incidents at pits in Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.