Hailsham man crushed by hydraulic press

Eastbourne Town Hall
Eastbourne Town Hall

Four-and-a-half years after his death, the inquest into an engineer who was crushed by a hydraulic press while at work has finally been held.

Brian Parsons was working at Apaseal, in Battle Road, Hailsham, on February 15, 2010 when he died while trying to move a heavy piece of machinery in the industrial building.

Upon his death, an investigation was held by Sussex Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

Apaseal as a company was fined for breaches of health and safety. That investigation came to a close in April earlier this year, allowing the inquest to open in order to determine how Mr Parsons came by his death.

The inquest, held at Eastbourne Town Hall on Wednesday, September 17, heard how Mr Parsons had been working for the tyre firm for several months when the incident occurred. Earlier in the day, he had accepted a delivery of four machine skates to help him move the hydraulic press, which was due to be collected and sold. He had moved a number of similar, albeit smaller machines before.

Colleagues heard a cry from Mr Parsons and rushed into the building to find him lying underneath the machine. They phoned the emergency services but he was pronounced dead at the scene. The inquest heard how the skates had been a suitable choice of equipment to handle the weight of the machine in question but that after the worker’s death, one of the skates was found with its disc unattached next to the scene. With no witnesses to confirm whether Mr Parsons was trying to move the machine with a chain block or with a nearby fork lift truck, detectives were forced to speculate on the moments leading up to his death.

The post mortem gave a cause of death as multiple injuries consistent with being crushed. A jury of eight returned a unanimous verdict of misadventure.