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Today (Thursday, May 16) AWE plc has pleaded guilty to a single offence contrary to section 2(1) and section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Following the conclusion of the hearing, AWE’s Dr Graeme Nicholson, Director Science, Technology and Production gave a statement outside Reading Crown Court.
He said: “AWE always takes its health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously. We accept that on 3 August 2010, we did not meet our usually high standards. We regret the occurrence of the fire. We are sorry that a member of our staff was injured and for the disruption caused to local residents.
“The Company immediately instigated a fully independently chaired investigation; the results of which we shared with our Local Liaison Committee and members of the public. We accepted all the recommendations.
“Over the last three years, we have worked hard to implement these recommendations and those made by the Health and Safety Executive.
“We are pleased that the HSE has acknowledged our commitment to addressing these issues and the improvements we have made. In respect of explosives safety, the HSE’s overall assessment positions us as ‘one of the best in the UK.’
“Lessons have been learnt and we remain committed to achieving the highest standards in safety performance. We will continue to work openly and collaboratively with all our regulators.”
Judge Parkes QC has postponed sentencing until later in May. A date has yet to be fixed.
Notes to Editors
1. AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent
2. AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.
3. For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk or 01189855888.