No corporate manslaughter charges after Teesworks explosion deaths

No corporate manslaughter charges will be brought after an investigation by Cleveland Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the deaths of two workers killed in an explosion at the Teesworks site in 2019.

John Mackay and Tom Williams both died after an explosion during redevelopment works at the former-Redcar steelworks site on September 19 2019. Nearly four years to the day after the incident, the HSE has announced there was “insufficient evidence to support gross or corporate manslaughter charges” following the conclusion of a joint investigation with Cleveland Police.

It will lead an ongoing criminal investigation into the incident, after informing the workers’ families.

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HSE principal inspector John Heslop said: “Although some of these developments are difficult for the families of John and Tom, I have assured them that the criminal investigation into their deaths remains ongoing. We also made it clear our investigation will be a thorough one, while also recognising the desire for a speedy conclusion.”

The HSE's announcement comes nearly four years to the day after the incident.The HSE's announcement comes nearly four years to the day after the incident.
The HSE's announcement comes nearly four years to the day after the incident.

A criminal investigation, supported by Cleveland Police, is ongoing.

The announcement comes after a twelve month period that’s seen a number of safety incidents on the site. In June two workers were injured in an incident, with one of them needing hospital treatment for burns and a broken wrist and leg, while another worker experienced a near-miss in November 2022 when the excavator he was operating at the new South Bank Quay fell into the the river Tees.

The site was under the control of South Tees Site Company (STSC) at the time of the incident, a company set up and owned and controlled by the UK Government before transferring to South Tees Development Corporation.

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A spokesperson for STSC said: “Our thoughts remain with the loved ones of John Mackay and Tom Williams following this tragic and devastating incident almost four years ago. We have always fully supported the need for an extensive and detailed investigation into this tragedy and the process to provide important answers to the families.

“We will continue to work with the Health and Safety Executive to provide all and any assistance required with the investigation as it progresses to a conclusion.”