MoD agency censured over Hatfield scientist’s ‘needless’ death

AN MoD agency has been censured over safety failings that led to the death of a Hatfield scientist.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) this week accepted a Crown Censure from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the death of chemist Terry Jupp in an explosion nine years ago.

It is the maximum enforcement action the HSE can bring against a government body, in lieu of criminal proceedings.

Mr Jupp, 43, suffered 85 per cent burns when an experiment with explosive compounds ignited at an MoD laboratory in Shoeburyness, Essex, on August 14, 2002. He died in hospital a week later.

The HSE took enforcement action following an inquest in Mr Jupp’s death last year, which concluded he died in an accident at work.

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The HSE investigation found a number of health and safety failings, including poorly followed risk assessments, inadequate protective equipment and a lack of communication which impeded safety procedures.

Dstl chief executive Dr Frances Saunders attended the Crown Censure meeting and accepted the findings on behalf of the Dstl and the MoD.

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Crown Censure chair Susan MacKenzie from the HSE said: “Terry Jupp died needlessly.

“Even at the time of the incident, Dstl had well documented safety procedures, which, had they been followed fully, would have prevented or considerably reduced the severity of the incident.

“The evidence brought to light by HSE’s investigations would be sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of the MOD in civilian courts. This Crown Censure is the maximum enforcement action that HSE can take and should serve to illustrate how seriously we take the failings that led to the death of Mr Jupp.”

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