A jury has returned a conclusion of accidental death in the inquest of a dad-of-one, who died after a tyre he was repairing exploded.
Preston Coroner’s Court heard Gary Jackson suffered fatal injuries after being thrown across a workshop when using an unrestricted airline to inflate a lorry tyre.
The 46-year-old, of Victoria Street, Lostock Hall, was working at Red Scar Tyres on the Red Scar Industrial Estate in Ribbleton, Preston, at around 10.15am on February 21, 2012.
On Wednesday the inquest was told the crime scene set up by police after Mr Jackson died was interfered with.
Detectives said two photographs showed a modified piece of equipment Mr Jackson was using when the accident happened was moved - and has never been recovered.
But staff from the firm said they had not altered any evidence and yesterday its owner, Michael McEwan, denied any knowledge of the direct airline equipment, how it disappeared or who was involved.
He said: “I’ve never been in a garage where anything like that has been used.”
David Moffatt, a sales representative who regularly visits the garage, had previously told the inquest that after Mr Jackson’s death, Mr McEwan told him he “keeps telling them about not using a direct line”.
But Mr McEwan said: “No such conversation has ever taken place.”
Suzanne Goddard, representing Mr Jackson’s family, said: “Is that really right, or was it the case direct line feeds were used commonly in your workplace, you knew full well it was bad practice and were not prepared to admit to it?”
He replied: “There is nothing to admit to.”
She then asked: “Have you removed that jury-rig in an attempt to cover-up the fact it was being used by one of your employees to avoid you taking any responsibility for that?”
Mr McEwan replied: “No, I have not. Neither me or any of my employees have tampered with the evidence.”
He said Mr Jackson, a qualified tyre fitter who had worked for the firm for four years, was “excellent” at his job and “knew exactly what he needed to do and how to do it”.
The director said he was aware of the risk of exploding tyres and annual insurance inspections of his business had not raised any concerns.
But he admitted there were no warning signs in the workshop, no exclusion zone people should stand outside of when inflating tyres marked out on the floor, and that he had not acted upon health and safety guidance given to him in 2010 or carried out risk assessments.
He said: “We hadn’t had any incidents and everybody knew how to do their job. I basically didn’t do a lot. I thought we were doing everything okay.”