Textile firm WE Rawson admits HSE breach after employee crushed to death at work in Wakefield

Ext pic Rawson factiry Portobello
Ext pic Rawson factiry Portobello

A TEXTILE firm has admitted breaching health and safety rules after one of its employees was crushed to death.

James Welka, 61, of Peacock, died in February 2010 after fabric bales fell on him while working at WE Rawson on Portobello Road.

Yesterday the company admitted failing to ensure there were arrangements for ensuring their employees’ safety in relation to rag bales.

Michael Elliker, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, told city magistrates: “This is a particularly tragic case. It arises out of a fatal accident at work.”

But he said although WE Rawson had pleaded guilty there was still a “fundamental” difference between Rawson’s and the HSE over issues in the case.

He said these would needed to be determined before sentencing. The bench agreed and committed the case for sentence at Leeds Crown Court next month.

An inquest was held last year into Mr Welka’s death. Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard how Welka, 61, had got out of his forklift truck to make a phone call when the bales fell on him. He was taken to Pinderfields Hospital but died from multiple injuries on February 22, 2010.

The inquest heard Rawson’s had introduced new stacking systems since the tragedy. The jury ruled Mr Welka’s death was accidental.