A Herefordshire manufacturer has been fined £120,000 following the death of a long-serving worker who got trapped between two heavy steel beams.

In May 2019 Steve Rooke, 55, was working in the workshop at Mifflin Construction of Leominster, which manufactures and installs steel components for the construction industry.

He was using an overhead travelling crane to reposition a 18-metre-long, 1.8-tonne beam on a “bogey” which ran on rails in the workshop.

As it was being lifted, it rotated and toppled sideways, trapping him against another beam and causing lethal injuries.


He was airlifted from the scene but died in hospital shortly afterwards.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to have a full risk assessment conducted by a competent person; had failed to inform, instruct and train employees on lifting at the site; and did not properly plan lifts or ensure these were adequately supervised.

At Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday (March 4), Mifflin Construction pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steve Richardson said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

Mr Rooke had worked at the company for more than 27 years.

His wife Karen said: “Steve’s death has left a big hole in our lives. It’s changed everything, every plan we had has gone and our future is cancelled.

“He was good at his job, hard-working and conscientious and I still struggle to understand how and why this happened.

“I’ve lost a husband, the girls have lost a loving dad, and he’ll have missed out on so many things to look forward to like becoming a grandparent.”