Fatality at Wyndeham Bicester

Jo Francis
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

An employee at Wyndeham Bicester has died following an incident involving a roll clamp truck.

The incident happened yesterday evening (23 July) just before 6pm.

The male reel store worker, whose identity had not been made public at the time of writing, had gone into the paper warehouse to fetch some reels, using a twin-clamp roll truck.

Roy Kingston, chief operating officer at Wyndeham Group owner Walstead Group, said the employee was found after colleagues went to investigate when he had not returned as expected with the paper.

“He was found under the clamp truck which was on its side, it appears that while he was in the process of getting the reels a stack of smaller reels has come down and knocked over the truck. What’s not clear is why – we don’t know if something happened to him to cause this to happen,” Kingston said.

“Everyone at Bicester is understandably shocked at what has happened, and we offer our heartfelt sympathies to his family and loved ones.”

The employee was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. Police also attended the incident in order to rule out foul play and gather photographic evidence. The Health & Safety Executive is in attendance at the site today.

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "This was an unexplained and non-suspicious death of a 42-year-old man. Next of kin are aware. A file will be prepared for the coroner."

Kingston said that as far as he was aware, there were no issues with the working environment. “This is a big space, with perfectly stacked reels. The clamp truck had been serviced and maintained by our supplier, and the employee had passed all the necessary certificates,” he stated.

“We’ve spoken to our other employees who drive trucks in that area to make sure they are okay to continue work.”

The reels involved weigh around 1.4 tonnes each.

“We are moving hundreds of thousands of tonnes of paper across our European operations using clamp trucks, as do our competitors, and I can’t recall an incident like this before,” he added. "I generally find that people who are involved in moving reels have a great respect for the weight of the reels."

Production is continuing today at the site, which runs six web presses and employs 222 staff producing time-sensitive publications for a raft of publishers including Dennis Publishing, Immediate Media, TI Media and Private Eye.

Walstead acquired the Bicester operation two years ago following the collapse of Polestar.

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