Two companies have been fined after a man was killed when he drove a specialist machine into an unprotected pit in a factory floor.

Martin McMenemy, 52, of Grimsby, was working for O. Turner Insulation Ltd, also of Grimsby, on the construction of a food processing plant in Ratby Lane, Leicester, 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 Mr McMenemy was thrown out of it. He died later in hospital of head injuries.

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

Leicester Crown Court heard today (24 August 2012) the incident could have been prevented had the hole been covered with a metal plate or cordoned off.

O. Turner Insulation Ltd, of Estate Road No 4, South Humberside Industrial Estate, Grimsby, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 13(2) and 37(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 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) of the same Regulations and was fined £22,500 with £12,674 costs.

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.”

Mr McMenemy had two sons, Ashley and Simon. His oldest son, Ashley, 33, worked with him as a thermal insulation engineer for a number of years, including at Mr McMenemy’s own company and later O. Turner Insulation Ltd, but changed career after the incident.

He said:

“I lost interest in working as a thermal insulation engineer following the incident. The work wasn’t the same and I simply didn’t enjoy it any more.

“I miss Dad and I am upset that if I ever have any children he will not get to see them. I often think of him, and all the things we haven’t yet done. I miss getting to know him better.”