UK death inquest finds roof collapsed twice in one week

AN INQUEST into the 2011 death of British miner Gerry Gibson has found an almost identical incident occurred five days before the roof collapse that caused his death.
UK death inquest finds roof collapsed twice in one week UK death inquest finds roof collapsed twice in one week UK death inquest finds roof collapsed twice in one week UK death inquest finds roof collapsed twice in one week UK death inquest finds roof collapsed twice in one week

UK Coal's Kellingley mine.

Staff Reporter

Gibson and a colleague were trapped after the roof collapsed at UK Coal’s Kellingley colliery in North Yorkshire on September 27, 2011.

Colleague Phil Sheldon suffered minor injuries but Gibson was pronounced dead at the scene from asphyxiation.

Last week, an inquest heard that a number of bolts used to secure the roof had been broken in an almost identical incident on September 22, according to the York Press.

“The subsequent investigation was inadequate and additional roof support system was put in place but was discontinued on September 26,” the jury was reported to have said.

“The relevant information regarding the incident was not cascaded appropriately and effectively.”

The jury allegedly said Gibson and his colleagues were “following normal working procedures” prior to the incident but had not been told to avoid the site of the “previous significant fall”.

When a powered roof support was lowered, Gibson and Sheldon were trapped under debris.

Outside the courtroom after the verdict, Gibson’s sons said the family was hopeful UK Coal would “learn lessons” from their father’s death.

“We are glad UK Coal has been made to account for their obvious shortcomings in health and safety regulations and the apparent lack of robust and rigorous assessment and communication, which may have prevented the tragedy,” Gibson’s son Sean, also a Kellingley mine worker, said.

“We are relieved the inquest has come to an end and hope the findings go some way to ensure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again.”

Following the week-long hearing, UK Coal said new safety measures were introduced after Gibson’s death.

“We deeply regret the loss of Gerry Gibson and have taken a number of steps to strengthen health and safety procedures since this tragic incident,” the company said in a statement.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage but our thoughts remain with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”

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