Nigel Chester, who suffered serious head injuries after falling into the machine at Premier’s Worksop, Nottinghamshire, OXO cube and gravy granule factory, was checking the site’s smoke detectors before the accident last year.
An inquest heard that Chester, who worked for ADT Fire and Security, had been given a master key to gain access to a lift room and store cupboards.
Fell into a void
However, he fell into a void above the machine after going through a door “to nowhere” that he unlocked, an inquest was reportedly told.
A sign that read ‘Danger. Keep this door locked. Four metre fall to the floor if opened,’ had been recently installed near to the locked door, a technician reportedly said.
The door above the machine was installed about 10 years ago, as it was thought a gantry was needed to service the machine, Andrew McNamara, assistant coroner for Nottingham, reportedly said.
“A door was installed for access from the first floor, but it was then decided the gantry wasn’t necessary,” said McNamara.
“Shortly before the incident, Chester checked a sensor on the floor. He then unlocked the door and stepped into the void.”
Death an accident
The jury at Nottingham’s Council House ruled the death an accident after a two-day inquest on Tuesday (December 16).
A Premier Foods’s spokesman said: "We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Chester who died following this tragic accident at our Worksop site on May 1 2013.
“As a company, we take our responsibilities for the health and safety of our employees, and others who work on our premises, very seriously and we have had an exemplary record over the years.
“We acknowledge the recent coroner’s conclusion of accidental death. The matter remains under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and the company will continue to co-operate fully with them in support of their investigation.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from the Health and Safety Executive told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Our investigation into the incident is ongoing, so we can’t comment any further.”