Tommy Manns, from Dymock in Gloucestershire, was driving for H Weston and Sons Limited when he was killed by the end of a security barrier on 28 September 2020, his 65th birthday.
On 30 November 2023, H Weston and Sons Limited of Much Marcle, Ledbury, Herefordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The company, which makes Henry Westons cider, was fined £1.4m and ordered to pay £26,756.50 in costs at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court.
The van was being driven out of the firm’s site when the end of a security barrier speared through the vehicle’s windshield and fatally crushed Manns. He was a farm manager at H Weston and Sons Limited and had worked for the company since 2008.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found H Weston and Sons had installed the barrier a month earlier, and failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. The company also failed to implement a safe system of work to ensure the barrier could be secured safely when open and closed.
“I am still in shock following the death of my husband,” said his wife Rose Manns.
“I’ve never been an emotional person, but since the accident I am nervous and reliving the accident all the time. In the beginning I couldn’t even drive because my husband was driving at the time of his accident and I couldn’t face driving again for a long time.”
Oliver Hunter, Manns’ stepson, added: “As a parent there are many memorable moments you want to keep hold of, however trying to explain to my four-year-old son (now seven) and six-year-old daughter (now nine) that their Grampy Tom had died on his birthday and that he is no longer with us, is one I wish I could forget.”
Meanwhile, HSE inspector Sara Lumley described the incident as “devastating”.
“Rosemary and Oliver have made clear the impact that Tommy’s passing has had and our thoughts remain with them and their family,” said Lumley.
“Horizontal barriers can be dangerous – but deaths are extremely preventable. The guidance for those operating barriers like this at car parks is clear and it’s vital to make sure the barriers are adequately secured at all times whether open or shut.”