ERP Ely Ltd, which operates a straw burning generator at its Elena power station was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay over £30,000 in cost by Cambridge Crown Court following the death of Gary Darnell, a 53 year old driver at the site. Mr Darnell was killed when struck by a 700kg bale of straw while performing an unloading operation using an overhead gantry crane.  

The subsequent HSE investigation found a number of procedural failings in relation to the movement of straw bales around the loading and unloading area of the site. The HSE stated that the accident was “entirely preventable”. ERP Ely Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges against them under sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The case serves as a reminder for companies to ensure that adequate procedures are in place for the movement of heavy loads and that those procedures are adhered to.