Pie factory to face charges

Picture taken at the scene of the explosion at Andrew Jones Pies, Old Leeds Road, Huddersfield.
Picture taken at the scene of the explosion at Andrew Jones Pies, Old Leeds Road, Huddersfield.

A PIE firm is being prosecuted over an explosion that killed a former Brighouse baker.

A year following the death of David Cole the Crown Prosecution Service said that it had insufficient evidence to prosecute the company for gross negligence manslaughter.

But the Health and Safety Executive, which carried out an investigation into the explosion at Andrew Jones Pies factory at the Leeds Road site, has brought charges against the firm.

The 37-year-old father-of-two, who lived in Salterhebble, Halifax, had worked for the firm for 12 years including four years at the Brighouse shop in Bethel Street.

The company, which is now in administration, faces three charges of contravening a health and safety regulation.

It is claimed that failings included a lack of proper training, health and safety provision and risk assessment in the run-up to the accident.

John Harrison, prosecuting on behalf of the HSE, told District Judge Hopkinson sitting in Huddersfield that an investigation was launched following the incident.

He said that this was completed on May 4 and proceedings against the company were instigated following correspondence with its administrators.

Before the explosion two ovens stood side by side in the factory and each were loaded with 1,400 pork pies every hour throughout the day.

The company is alleged to have not ensured that all the persons using the gas-fired backing ovens had available to them adequate health and safety instructions.

Employees allegedly did not all have adequate training in methods for using the ovens, associated risks and precautions that needed to be taken.

There was also alleged to have been insufficient assessment of the risks to employees arising from the use of natural gas in the ovens.

Judge Hopkinson committed the case to Leeds Crown Court, where a preliminary hearing will take place on October 18.