Grantham tyre company to be sentenced following death of employee in 2014

Stephen Woollas

Stephen Woollas

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A Grantham company which admitted breaching health and safety rules following the death of an employee two years ago is likely to be sentenced in the new year.

Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Ltd, of Great Gonerby, will be sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court following the death of Stephen Woollas, 49, in July 2014. Mr Woollas was driving a fork-lift truck when it turned over and he was crushed underneath it.

The company was due in court on Friday but the Journal has been told that both the Health and Safety Executive and solicitors for the company have asked for a postponement of the sentencing.

Last month, at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court, Vacu-Lug admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees, including Mr Woollas, because it failed to put in place arrangements for the wearing of seatbelts to control the risk of lethal or serious injuries in the event of a fork-lift truck overturning.

The case was committed to the crown court for sentencing.

Last year, an inquest found that Mr Woollas’s death was an accident. At the inquest Sian Tiernan, of the Health and Safety Executive, said that if Mr Woollas had worn a seatbelt he would have lived.

Instead, she said he either jumped or was thrown out of the cab when it tipped over and crushed him.

Mr Woollas’s mother Sue said after the inquest: “I am satisfied it was a fair verdict. It was purely an accident.”

Timothy Hercock, managing director of Vacu-Lug, expressed his sincere condolences to the family at the 
inquest.

The inquest was told that the company ensured drivers wore seat belts after the accident.