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MOD Censured Over Soldiers' Deaths

HSE issues maximum penalty to MOD

The Ministry of Defence is to be censured over the deaths of three recruits on an SAS training exercise in the Brecon Beacons.

A Crown Censure is the maximum penalty that could be imposed on the MoD by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts died during the march and Lance Corporal Edward Maher and Corporal James Dunsby collapsed and died later.

The HSE's head of operations, Neil Craig, said: "Specialist military units rightly need to test rigorously the fitness and resilience of potential candidates.

"Health and safety is not about stopping people from doing dangerous work or being properly prepared for military duties. Military training is inherently hazardous. However, such testing needs to be managed effectively.

"The MoD has a duty to manage the risks during training exercises. It failed to do so on this occasion."

The probe found that the risks were not properly assessed or managed, resulting in the deaths.

The MoD is exempt from prosecution due to its Crown status, so Crown Censure is the maximum sanction that the HSE could bring.

There is no financial penalty associated with it, but once accepted is an official record of a failing to meet the standards set out in law.

The soldiers are thought to have been carrying out an exercise known as the "Fan Dance".

It requires soldiers to carry a weighted pack and rifle and march up and down 2,900ft-high Pen y Fan mountain. It is then done again in reverse, in a set time.

On the day in question - 13 July 2013 - temperatures hit 29.5C, and emergency crews were called after reports that six soldiers had collapsed suffering heat exhaustion.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The MoD acknowledges this censure and has apologised for the failures identified by the coroner and the Health and Safety Executive.

"We have made several improvements to reduce the risks on such exercises."

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