The Ministry of Defence has been issued with a Crown Censure by the Health and Safety Executive over the death of Fusilier Dean Griffiths, who was shot in the neck on a training exercise in 2011.
The censure is the The Health and Safety Executive’s strongest sanction as the MoD cannot be prosecuted.
Soldier killed by bullet during training exercise
Fusilier Griffiths, 21, received a fatal bullet wound to the neck during a “live” training exercise at Lydd Ranges military firing range in Kent.
The exercise involved troops approaching a specially built compound that had been created to simulate the type of building the troops would encounter in Afghanistan.
The soldier, from Market Drayton in Shropshire, was serving with the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh when the incident happened.
A comrade inside the replica compound fired at an enemy target that had been set up in the wrong place.
The bullet went through the thin plywood, through the compound wall and hit Fusilier Griffiths who died at the scene.
Almost immediately someone shouted for the exercise to stop and all the men laid down their weapons.
MoD exposed employees to safety risks
HSE investigators found the exercise was undermanned and two groups had been merged to cope with the lack of resource.
An HSE press release reads: “HSE found the incident could have been prevented by not using targets as debris on the compound and by introducing a final walk through before each run through by the Range Conducting Officer to ensure all targets corresponded to the target plan for the exercise.”
By accepting the Crown Censure, the MoD admitted breaching its duty under Section 2(1) and 2(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in that it exposed employees to risks to their health, safety and welfare.
Those risks manifested themselves in a lack of a safe system of work and the manner in which the exercise was organised, said the HSE.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: October 17, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown