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SAS selection deaths: MoD told to tackle training risks

By DPF Admin18th November 2013Latest News

In July L/Cpl Craig Roberts, L/Cpl Edward Maher and Cpl James Dunsby died after a hike on one of the hottest days of the year.

A formal notice includes steps to deal with heat illness risk.

The MoD said it was implementing all the recommendations in the notice.

An investigation into the deaths is continuing.

The soldiers were on a 40-mile (64km) hike over the Brecon Beacons in Powys on 13 July when temperatures reached 29.5C (85F).

They were among six men rescued from the mountain during an exercise, which had been part of a four-week trial for the Territorial Army's SAS reservists.

L/Cpl Roberts, 24, was pronounced dead on the mountain.

Almost three hours later, L/Cpl Maher, 31, died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. Cpl Dunsby, 31, died on 30 July.

The order means the HSE inspector believes there is a serious health and safety risk and an improvement notice has been issued to stop it.

The MoD has been given a deadline of the end of this month to comply and there is no right of appeal.

The notice states that the MoD as an employer “failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment” of risks to the health and safety of the soldiers on the test on 13 July, including those relating to heat illness.

It lists steps the MoD must take, including considering heat illness risk, which covers the duration and intensity of the exercise, the suitability of clothing and availability of water.

'Co-operated fully'

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “HSE has issued a Crown improvement notice on the Ministry of Defence following the deaths of three Army reservists while on selection tests on the Brecon Beacons in July.

“The notice requires the ministry to take action to deal with risks arising from its military selection exercises. HSE continues to investigate the deaths, supporting Dyfed Powys Police which is leading the investigation.”

An MoD spokesperson said its thoughts remained with the families of those who died on the exercise.

“We have co-operated fully with the Health and Safety Executive inspectors and are implementing all the recommendations in the Crown improvement notice,” added the spokesperson.

“As the incident is still subject to a police and MoD investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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