Cider maker H Weston and Sons has been fined £1.4m after one of its drivers was killed by the end of a security barrier at its site in Herefordshire.

Tommy Manns was driving a van out of the Henry Westons Cider manufacturer’s depot in Ledbury when the barrier speared through the vehicle’s windshield and fatally crushed the 65-year-old farm manager.

An HSE investigation into the incident in September 2020 found H Weston and Sons had installed the barrier a month earlier and failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. The company also failed to implement a safe system of work to ensure the barrier could be secured safely when open and closed.

Manns’ wife Rose said: “I am still in shock following the death of my husband. I’ve never been an emotional person, but since the accident I am nervous and reliving the accident all the time.

“In the beginning I couldn’t even drive because my husband was driving at the time of his accident and I couldn’t face driving again for a long time.”

Oliver Hunter, Tommy’s stepson, added: “As a parent, there are many memorable moments you want to keep hold of, however trying to explain to my four-year-old son, now seven, and six-year-old daughter, now nine, that their Grampy Tom had died on his birthday and that he is no longer with us, is one I wish I could forget.”

HSE inspector Sara Lumley: “This is a sad and devastating case that is made all the more tragic as the incident took place on Tommy’s birthday. It was also his day off.

“Horizontal barriers can be dangerous – but deaths are extremely preventable. The guidance for those operating barriers like this at car parks is clear and it’s vital to make sure the barriers are adequately secured at all times whether open or shut.”