Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

May 16, 2016

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Director cleared over tyre-fitter’s death

A director of a tyre company has been cleared of health and safety breaches following the death of 21-year-old worker Matthew Hoare, of Chartham, who was fatally injured when a tyre he was pumping up exploded.

Andrew Wright, a director of Watling Tyres, was found not guilty on two counts at Canterbury Crown Court however the company pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety law in January and will be sentenced in June.

The court heard how Mr Hoare, who had been a tyre-fitter for six months, was called out to fix a puncture on an earth mover at a former brickworks in Sandwich in 2006. During the course of the repair the tyre exploded, killing him instantly.

It was heard in court how Mr Hoare had been given insufficient training, that risk assessments were inadequate, and the equipment he was using on the day of his death was faulty.

In a prosecution brought by the HSE, Mr Wright, who was the head of health and safety at Watling Tyres, was found not culpable for the failures that led to his death.

Spokesman Mike Walters said: “The HSE always seek to bring prosecutions to court where it is believed there may be a case to answer and it is in the public interest.

“However, in this instance, a jury ruled that Andrew Wright did not breach any health and safety laws.

“The HSE will continue to enforce health and safety legislation, and take appropriate action when we believe a breach has occurred.”

An inquest returned a verdict of accidental death and concluded Mr Hoare had a lack of training.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Hoare’s mother said she was “gutted” at the verdict.

“I feel like my heart’s been ripped out. He’s irreplaceable.

“Yes, there is this verdict, but I’ve got to live the rest of my life, as my family do, with this hanging over us.

“This isn’t the end for us. It goes on,” Carolyn Hoare said.

In a statement following the verdict, Mr Wright said: “I am delighted with the verdict of the jury, but saddened by the time this has taken to come to court.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of Matthew Hoare.”

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Jan Mills
Jan Mills
8 years ago

I was a little surprised at the lack of depth on this important story. I’m sure there was much more to say here.

8 years ago

Another bitter disappointment for the family on this tragic loss of life. I cannot understand this verdict. Watling tyres had a duty of care under HASAW act to provide instruction and training , provide equipment fit for purpose. Also specific risk assessments as a company director and director of Health and Safety Mr Wright should also have been found guilty for neglecting his responsibilities

T Griffiths
T Griffiths
8 years ago

I have asked again and again about the length of time between the event and the court case but never seen an answer. Why did it take 10 years to get this case to court? Does the HSE not have a responsibility to everyone involved in a case like this to deal with it more efficiently?