The directors of fireworks company JM Enterprises were fined almost £50,000 at Leeds Crown Court recently after health and safety breaches by their company caused the death of a man.
Firework display organiser Mick Mason was killed in an explosion caused by burning
condemned fireworks in a kiln during October 1998.
His wife Andrea narrowly escaped death
because she walked away as her husband lit the kiln furnace.
The force of the blast blew the upper door of the kiln 85m into the adjoining field and severed Mason's left arm, which was found 22m away.
Company director Nigel Ronald Jackson was fined £22,100 and fellow director John Mather was fined £24,150 over the accident.
Both were ordered to pay £30,000 costs.
JM employee Heidi Turton had given Mason the broken Turbo 3 rockets.
Turton had been given no formal training and was not aware the fireworks were in a volatile state that meant they could have exploded while being transported or handled.
Trading Standards officers had already declared Turbo 3 Rockets unsafe.
A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into JM Enterprises revealed large-
scale illegal importation of unclassified fireworks.
It analysed 22 shipments and found 43% of
the fireworks, worth around £1m, were
During the investigation, the HSE imposed prohibition notices to prevent the company transporting and supplying unclassified
However, the directors breached these notices.
HSE investigating officer Allen Webb said
that by ignoring the fireworks classifications
system, JM Enterprises had put its employees and the public in unnecessary danger.
"This irresponsible behaviour was made worse by the company's officers' indifference to the prohibition notices," Webb said.
"This case sends a clear message to the explosives industry that the HSE will tackle evasion of important legal duties vigorously."