Two aerospace companies, Brookhouse Composites Ltd and Brookhouse Tooling Ltd, were prosecuted and found guilty in March 2011 under sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firms were fined a total of £75,000 and found liable for £70,000 in costs by Preston Crown Court, following an incident in December 2008 in which a worker was crushed to death.
Five workers were pushing a trolley carrying more than two tonnes of steel to an autoclave oven in a factory in Darwen. One of the pedestrian walkway panels collapsed while the trolley was being pushed, causing it to fall and trap two workers, Gerald Powderly and Allan Sanderson. Firefighters were need to free Mr Sanderson, but he later died from his injuries.
An inquest held into his death in April 2010 recorded a verdict of accidental death. Nevertheless, the HSE pursued a prosecution against he two companies. In particular, the HSE were critical of inadequate repairs to the panel in questions carried out just months before the incident.