Bristol employer jailed for health and safety breach in fireworks accident

A fireworks display organiser from Mangotsfield in Bristol has been sent to jail after failing to pay compensation to an employee who was blinded in one eye in a fireworks accident.

Jason Edgecombe, 30, from JWP Fireworks was ordered to pay former employee Chris Hignell, 53, a total of £5,000 in compensation after it was found that he breached health and safety regulations at a fireworks show which resulted in horrific injuries to Mr Hignell. A professional-grade mortar exploded in Mr Hignell’s face during the display, causing him to be blinded in one eye.

Mr Edgecombe reportedly failed to pay Mr Hignell a £200 instalment of the compensation by a certain time, resulting in a demand being issued for the full amount. Last Wednesday 29th December, Bristol Magistrates Court sentenced Mr Edgecombe to 88 days in jail for failing to pay the compensation amount. He has also been banned from working at or organising, any firework displays in the future, which effectively ends his role in the business.

This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring adequate health and safety training and risk assessment is undertaken for all kinds of activities, especially high-risk ones such as firework displays.