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April 27, 2010

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Directors’ bonuses cut after miner deaths

The bosses of the UK’s largest coal producer received reduced annual bonus payments last year because two worker deaths meant health and safety targets were not met.

In July 2009, a miner lost his life at UK Coal’s Thoresby site when a stack of pipes being unloaded underground slipped from a vehicle. Three months later, a worker at the Kellingley colliery was fatally injured when a powered roof support dropped unexpectedly.

Releasing its annual financial results on 26 April, UK Coal confirmed that chief executive Jon Lloyd and executive director David Brocksom would receive no bonus relating to health and safety – one of five remuneration target measures – in light of the “poor operational performance of the business”.

Mr Lloyd did, however, receive a bonus of £36,000 in respect of a personal performance target, while Mr Brocksom was awarded a bonus of £21,120. Their annual salaries – £375,000 and £234,675, respectively – were frozen.

Chairman David Jones said in the firm’s annual report: “Safety has to be at the heart of everything that we do and, throughout our employee team there is a commitment to safety. It is therefore deeply regrettable that we have to report the loss of life of two of our colleagues last year, although overall reportable injuries fell to 22.8 per 100,000 man shifts, compared to 24 in 2008.”

The company said it had appointed a safety director at the start of 2010, and confirmed that a full review of the group’s health and safety training needs is being undertaken to ensure that behavioural safety among the workforce is robust.

Nevertheless, the HSE has brought 10 charges for alleged breaches of health and safety legislation against UK Coal Mining Ltd following four deaths in separate incidents in 2006 and 2007.

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