Building material company Building Chemical Research has been fined £20,000 after one of its workers died in an industrial blender after admitting breaching health and safety laws over Paul Palmer’s death.

Mr Palmer was a former paratrooper, who spent 13 years in the army, with a service record that included being stationed in the Falklands and Bosnia.

The accident occurred after when Mr Palmer was cleaning a powerful slow speed mixer and another worker unwittingly switched it on. It should have been impossible to turn on the machine while someone was inside but two safety cut-out switches failed at the factory in Bury, a court heard.

Mr Palmer, who trained other staff at BCR, died after being lacerated by the mixing machine’s blade. The Health and Safety Executive brought the prosecution following the accident on August 30, 2005.

HSE inspector Alan Meyer said: ‘Had the machine had a proper guard and a working cut-out switch, Mr Palmer would still be alive today.’

BCR was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 legal fees at Bolton crown court.

The company’s director, Mr Reich, of Gisburn, Lancashire, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

The 44-year-old father-of-one from Bury, ‘was just a happy-go-lucky chap’, said his brother Paul. He added: ‘I can’t understand how manufacturing companies can become complacent over health and safety in this day and age.’