Manufacturer fined after worker cooked alive

Posted: 10th April 2015

factoryA manufacturing company which was convicted of corporate manslaughter after one of its workers was burnt alive in an industrial oven from which he could not escape has been fined £200,000. Its technical director was also hit with a £25,000 penalty and only narrowly escaped an immediate prison sentence.

Factory supervisor Alan Catterall was locked into the oven when a colleague switched it on, not realising that he was inside. His body was found at the door, still in the position in which he had desperately tried to prise his way out with a crowbar. The oven did not have an escape hatch or alarm and was not in the line of sight of the operator. The temperature reached up to 280 degrees centigrade and Mr Catterall died of shock having sustained severe burns.

Following a trial, Pyranha Mouldings in Runcorn, Cheshire, which employed about 90 people, was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and breaches of health and safety laws. The Court noted that a much bigger financial penalty would have been appropriate for a larger concern. On top of his fine, the technical director received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.