Company fined after trapped worker loses life

A manufacturing company in Hull has been fined after one of its employees was crushed to death at a factory.

Martyn Green died from crush injuries after becoming trapped between the crane he was operating and a roof truss at Niche Fused Magnesia Limited’s Hull Road site on 22 August 2018.

Martyn’s son George says he has lost his best friend and would always go to his dad for advice.

The 55-year-old had been testing the overhead gantry crane as part of its maintenance. Martyn, from Hull, was stood on the crane access platform and operating it using a hand-held remote control. The overhead gantry crane had been repaired following mechanical problems and required functional testing to ensure the repairs had been effective.

During testing, the crane passed in close proximity to a series of horizontal roof trusses, resulting in Martyn becoming trapped between one of the trusses and the crane.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Niche Fused Magnesia Limited, a manufacturer of magnesium oxide, had failed to adequately assess the risks from roof trusses to workers standing on the crane access platform while it was being operated. The company failed to ensure the work was carried in a manner that was safe.

HSE guidance on risk assessments states employers, or an appointed competent person, must identify hazards before work takes place, before assessing and controlling the risks involved. Findings should then be recorded, with employers then urged to review the control measures they have implemented to ensure they are working. More on this can be found at:  Managing risks and risk assessment at work – Overview -HSE.

George Green, Martyn’s son, said in his victim personal statement: “My dad was my best friend, someone to guide me through life. If I had any issues, I would go to him for advice. I have lost that.

“Some days I lay there at night and think about my dad, my heart will drop when I think about how he died. Was he screaming for help when it happened? My heart drops and I worry that he was alone at the time of the incident, and I do lose sleep over it.”

Niche Fused Magnesia Limited, of Hull Road, Salt End, Hull, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £366,500 and ordered to pay £7,325.82 in costs at Hull Magistrates’ Court on 8 March 2024.

HSE inspector John Boyle said: “This tragic incident could have been avoided had the company assessed the risks and implemented reasonably practicable safeguards.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

This HSE prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Iain Jordan and supported by HSE paralegal officer Rebecca Forman.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More information about the legislation referred to in this case is available.
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releases is available.