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Former soldier dies inside giant building materials mixer

22 Sep 10 A building materials manufacturer and its director have been fined a total of £20,000 after a former soldier was killed inside a giant industrial mixer.

A building materials manufacturer and its director have been fined a total of £20,000 after a former soldier was killed inside a giant industrial mixer.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Bury-based Building Chemical Research and director Stuart Reich, 62, following Paul Palmer's death at the company's premises on Sion Street in Radcliffe.

The 44-year-old from Radcliffe had climbed into the machine, a powerful, slow speed mixer, to clean it on 30 August 2005 when it was switched on by another employee. Palmer was killed by the machine's blades.

Bolton Crown Court heard that it should have been impossible to switch on the machine while someone was inside.

Palmer was brought up in Holywell in North Wales and served in the Falklands, Bosnia and Kuwait during his 13 years in the army.

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BCR was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 towards the cost of the prosecution on 20 September. The company's director, Stuart Reich of Gisburn Road, Gisburn, Lancashire, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

Both admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees.

HSE inspector Alan Meyer said: "This was a totally avoidable incident that resulted in the tragic death of an employee. The guard on the mixer was totally inadequate and both the safety switches failed.

"Had the machine had a proper guard and a working cut-out switch, Mr Palmer would still be alive today."

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