The family of a ‘much-loved’ father who died in an accident at work say they are 'disappointed' that a jury’s conclusion his death was accidental.

An inquest at Cumbria House, Carlisle recorded the death of 57-year-old Brian Tuddenham, who worked at International Rubber and Tyre Recycling Limited, as an accident. However, the Jury was unable to make a finding of fact on the cause of the accident.

Mr Tuddenham, who was employed as a workhouse operative and HGV driver, was responsible for loading and unloading trailers at the site.

His wife Lisa told the inquest that her husband “was my best friend, the kindest and most caring husband I could have ever wished for. He was the most fabulous dad to our boys.”

The inquest heard that on February 3, 2021 Mr Tuddenham was involved in an accident involving a forklift truck which trapped him against a HGV loading ram and he tragically died at the scene.

A Health and Safety Executive Inspector told the inquest there were concerns over the parking brake on the forklift truck after tests were carried out.

In its conclusion, the jury said that the accelerator switch and handbrake on the forklift truck were both defective, however, they believed that the handbrake had not been engaged at the time of the incident.

The jury were unable to say, on the balance of probabilities, whether the defective accelerator switch contributed to Mr Tuddenham’s death, leaving this question unanswered.

The family of Mr Tuddenham said the inquest had failed to get the answers they needed into why and how he had died that day.

In a family statement they said: “Brian was a hardworking, kind, funny and loving man who was loved by all who knew him.

“He lived for his family, Lisa and his boys Josh, Sean and Luke and Hannah, they all meant the world to him.

“He loved family time and cherished every minute they all spent together. We miss him every day and will love him always and forever.

“While we thank the Coroner, and the members of the Coroner’s Court, for their essential and thoughtful guidance of the process, it is disappointing that after over two-and-a-half years the jury were unable to provide clarity and we still do not know whether the defective accelerator switch found on the forklift truck contributed to the accident.

“Mr Tuddenham’s death was extremely tragic for both his wife and sons," said Kerry Gillespie of Hudgell Solicitors.

"This case highlights the very serious issue of ensuring proper checks and maintenance of machinery and equipment are carried out at places of work.

“Employees have a right to be safe and employers must fulfil their statutory obligations to ensure they fully comply with health and safety regulations.

“It is reasonable for workers to be confident that the heavy machinery they operate has been checked and maintained so that it is not a danger to themselves and their colleagues.

“It has been an honour to represent the family of Mr Tuddenham and I would also like to thank Stuart McCracken of Exchange Chambers.”