14th May 2014
An investigation in to a workplace accident that led to the death of a government chemist has resulted in his employer being formally censured by the Health and Safety Executive.
46-year-old Terry Jupp died in August 2002 at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory establishment at Shoeburyness in Essex while carrying out explosive tests.
He received 85 per cent burns and died in hospital a week after the accident.
The circumstances surrounding Mr Jupp's death were concealed for a long time, due to the classified nature of his work on anti-terrorism research.
An inquest into his death last year and the HSE's investigation, which resulted in a formal Crown censure being issued to DSTL on February 18, revealed that Mr Jupp had been involved in a team examining the destructive capabilities of various home-made explosives.
The investigation found that Mr Jupp and his colleagues were not protected by screens or personal protective equipment during their work, and that DSTL's risk assessments were inadequate for an environment where explosions were likely.
However, because DSTL is an agency of the Ministry of Defence, it cannot be prosecuted by the HSE. The most that can be done officially is a Crown censure, which DSTL's chief executive Dr Frances Saunders accepted at the hearing.
Mr Jupp's family – and others who have suffered workplace injuries or who have had relatives killed in government workplace accidents – are now left with the prospect of pursuing his employer for personal injury compensation, without the back up provided by a criminal conviction.
Susan MacKenzie, Crown censure chairman at the Health and Safety Executive, declared that Mr Jupp died "needlessly".
"Even at the time of the incident the laboratory had well documented safety procedures, which, had they been followed fully, would have prevented or considerably reduced the severity of the incident," she said.
Mrs Mackenzie went on: "The evidence brought to light by the Health and Safety Executive’s investigations would be sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of the MoD in civilian courts."
The censure marks the end of the HSE's involvement and a kind of justice for Mr Jupp's family – after eight years, an inquest and a manslaughter trial which collapsed.
Anyone who has been injured at work – whatever kind of employer they work for – may be eligible for pursue a claim for personal injury compensation.
If you suffer an injury at work and it isn't your fault, you may be able to make a personal injury claim for your pain and suffering.