Company face health and safety trial over death of Malmesbury firefighter

Steve Mills, who died in a gas explosion at Kemble airfield
A Cotswolds airport company is being prosecuted on health and safety charges following the death of a fire chief in a gas cylinder explosion.
Kemble Air Services Ltd will stand trial on March 17 next year on two charges of failing to make suitable and sufficient risk assessments at the former RAF Red Arrows base at Kemble, near Cirencester.
The case was listed for a brief preliminary hearing at Gloucester Crown Court today before being adjourned for a trial next March.
The charges allege the company did not make a proper health and safety assessment of the risks of either employees including Mr Mills or of non-employees.
It was on April 8th 2011 that Steve Mills, the fire chief at Kemble airfield, died when a giant gas cylinder suddely discharged as he was moving it.
The force of the gas gushing from the heavyweight cylinder caused it to spin around, hitting the 45-year-old on the head and killing him instantly.
After a four-day inquest last year a jury returned a verdict of accidental death but found that delivery and handling of the cylinder had not been done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or the Ministry of Defence regulations.
As well as working at the Cotswold airport Mr Mills was a retained firefighter in his home town of Malmesbury.
The inquest heard it appeared that he had been hit on the head by the 120 kilogramme cylinder of high pressure gas when it discharged violently as he was handling it.
Mr Mills had arranged for the acquisition of the three large steel containers from the Ministry of Defence at Ashchurch, Gloucestershire, to be used in fire training on part of the airport by the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

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