Family calls for new safety rules after tragic death of ELO star

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Family calls for new safety rules after tragic death of ELO star

16th March 2011

The family of former Electric Light Orchestra cellist Mike Edwards has called for new safety measures to be introduced following the inquest into his death.

An inquest jury this week returned a verdict of accidental death, after hearing how Mr Edwards, 62, was killed outright when his van was hit by a hay bale that had rolled some 60 metres down a steep field in Devon in September last year.

Martin James, a fatal accidents specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, is representing Mr Edwards' family.

"The inquest jury heard how a contractor had laid the hay bale - which weighed 400kg (882lbs) - against a fence in a field above the road, but that it had toppled over before rolling down the slope and smashing through a fence on to the van Mr Edwards was driving," said Martin.

"My clients believe Michael's death could have easily been prevented if a proper assessment of the risks of carrying out a baling operation on a steeply sloping field adjoining a public road had been carried out."

Martin, a partner with the firm, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was still examining the circumstances of the fatal accident.

Following the inquest, Mr Edwards' brother David gave a statement in which he expressed how the tragic death of his brother has touched many people's lives. "Not just my own family," he said, "but the very many friends he had here in Devon, his music pupils, the many musical ensembles and orchestras that he played with, and also loyal fans from the Electric Light Orchestra. He will be sadly missed by us all."

In a written statement, he urged the coroner to consider making a recommendation to the HSE to revise its guidelines to include the hazards of a baling operation on sloping ground, so that similar tragedies may perhaps be avoided in the future.

Plymouth deputy coroner Andrew Cox said he will now write to the HSE to ask it to consider improving its guidance to farmers on handling hay bales.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to serious and fatal accidents.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more at: Guardian, Daily Mail, The Sun