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Death of worker at Bicester factory ‘accidental’

The death of a worker at Walstead Bicester printing factory was an accident, a jury has ruled.

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The death of a worker at Walstead Bicester has been ruled an accident

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard how forklift driver Wayne Riggall, 42, had been sent to collect two large paper reels from a stack of eight, each weighing approximately 1,400kg.

The truck he was driving toppled over and crushed him to death on July 23rd, 2018.

Riggall was discovered by colleague Gary Nelson, a press assistant, who gave evidence to the inquest. Oxford Times reports his statement: "About 6pm I realised he hadn't moved the roll so thought I would walk over... to see what he was up to.

“When I walked in, I could hear the humming of the clamp but I couldn't see it.” Nelson said he turned the corner to see the clamp truck on its side, with the clamps still running.

Unable to see Riggall, Nelson shouted out to him and walked closer where he found Riggall trapped under the forklift.

Nelson adds: "There was a cut on his head and the cab was across his chest. I have never seen anything like it before, there wasn't anything I could do. He looked peaceful."

Riggall was pronounced dead at the scene by the emergency services. A post-mortem examination found his cause of death to be ‘massive trauma’ consistent with crush injuries.

While evidentially related to the movement of large and heavy paper reels, the exact cause of the truck toppling over cannot be determined

The jury concluded: “Wayne Riggall died at approximately 5.55pm on July 23, 2018, at his place of work while performing his regular duties. The truck he was driving toppled over, crushing him beneath causing his death.

"While evidentially related to the movement of large and heavy paper reels, the exact cause of the truck toppling over cannot be determined."

"Based on evidence it is not possible to determine whether Wayne voluntarily exited the truck prior or during it toppling."

Darren Salter, Oxfordshire coroner, said he was satisfied any concerns raised following Riggall’s death regarding drivers wearing seatbelts within the warehouse where paper rolls were stored had been addressed since.

The inquest concluded that the factory was working within industry standards, and the forklift truck was also up to industry standards.

Walstead UK said that the ruling was now in the public domain, and with Riggall’s family in mind, the company did not feel it appropriate or necessary to comment further given the verdict.

Walstead Bicester, then known as Wyndham, runs six web offset presses, producing work for a number of major publishing clients including TI Media, Dennis Publishing, Private Eye and Immediate Media.

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