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Firms fined after death at food processing plant construction site

By Joe Whitworth , 27-Aug-2012

Two companies have been fined after a man was killed when he drove a specialist machine into an unprotected pit in a factory floor during the construction of a food processing plant.

Clegg Food Projects and O. Turner Insulation were fined under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Martin McMenemy of Grimsby, UK, was working for O. Turner Insulation, also of Grimsby, on the construction of a food processing plant in, Leicester, UK on 12 April 2008.

He was using a scissor lift, an extendable platform, to install wall and ceiling panels when he drove it unwittingly toward and into the shallow uncovered recess.

The vehicle overturned and McMenemy was thrown out and later died in hospital of head injuries.

Preventable incident

Leicester Crown Court heard last week the incident could have been prevented had the hole been covered with a metal plate or cordoned off.

O. Turner Insulation, of Estate Road No 4, South Humberside Industrial Estate, Grimsby, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(2) and 37(6) of the regulations and was fined £22,500 with £12,806 costs.

Clegg Food Projects Ltd, of High Pavement, Nottingham, admitted breaching Regulations 22(1)(a) and 37(6) and was fined £22,500 with £12,674 costs.

Failed to take simple precautions

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that O. Turner Insulation and principal contractor Clegg Food Projects had failed to take simple precautions to cover the hole.

According to the firm’s website, Clegg Food Projects has: “…developed unique, specialist expertise in the design, project management, construction and refurbishment of food and drink processing and distribution facilities.

“We have extensive experience and a comprehensive understanding of food and drink sector projects, from inception through to commissioning.”

After the hearing HSE Inspector Stephen Farthing said: "This was an entirely preventable tragedy. A family has been left without a father because simple precautions were not taken to eliminate what was an obvious hazard.

"Both companies had a duty to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried out under their control, but failed in that duty."