‘His life was worth more’ Family of Scot killed by huge magnet slam £264k fine

The heartbroken family of a young dad killed in a horror accident at work has hit out after his bosses were fined £264,000.

Martin Kane, 28, was crushed by a giant magnet while cleaning a mobile shredding machine at Enva Scotland’s recycling plant in Linwood.

Martin’s mum, Gillian Hendry, 50, and aunt Ann Purdue, 64, told of their anger and bewilderment at the punishment levied against Enva, formerly known as William Tracey.

The family also told how they are dreading spending a second Christmas without Martin
(Image: Paisley Daily Express)

The firm pleaded guilty to major health and safety failures at the plant.

Gillian said: “£264,000? Martin’s life was worth a lot more than that.

“We are absolutely devastated by this. It is horrendous. There are no words for this.

“We love him so much and miss him every day.

“I really hope that the company learns a lot from this.”

She said the tragedy, which will leave Martin’s five-year-old son to grow up without a father, has been hanging over the family since the accident robbed them of the “popular, conscientious and capable” dad who was highly regarded by his colleagues.

Ann, who accompanied Gillian to Paisley Sheriff Court for the sentencing, said the family has been unable to grieve properly because of the lengthy proceedings brought by prosecutors under health and safety laws.

She said: “This has been a devastating experience for the whole family.

“They have not had time to grieve properly with all this going on.

“As for the fine, no amount of money will bring him back to us.”

The William Tracey Group in Burnbrae Road, Linwood
(Image: Paisley Daily Express)

The family also told how they are dreading spending a second Christmas without Martin, who doted on his young son.

Martin was crushed while cleaning a shredding machine at the firm’s recycling plant on March 28, 2018.

He and a colleague were ensuring the machine, which had been hired by his employer, was spotless ahead of being returned to the firm that owned it.

The court heard they had not been trained on how to clean the machine properly and Martin was killed by a magnet he was trying to remove from the top of the vehicle.

Enva Scotland Ltd pleaded guilty to a charge of failing “to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work” of its employees, in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The charge stated the firm failed “to ensure that all persons engaged in the tasks of cleaning and using a Terex TDS 820 tracked mobile shredder had received adequate training, information and instruction on the deployment of an overhead magnet fitted to” the machine, leading to Martin’s’s death.

Procurator fiscal depute Willie Duffy said: “He needed a hammer and went to get one.

“He asked a colleague to borrow his hammer ‘for two seconds, to remove a last pin’. His colleague heard what he describes as a bang and by that time he was on his back, it appeared he’d been hit by the magnet.

“There was no sign of movement and his hard hat was covering his face.”

Barry Smith QC, representing Enva Scotland Limited, said: “They wish me, on their behalf, to formally record their regret that this accident resulted in such tragic consequences. He was a well liked and well regarded colleague. He was a safety-conscious individual and would not take risks with himself or his colleagues’ safety.”

Sheriff Colin Pettigrew said: “Having given careful consideration to all that I have been told by the Crown and the defence, I have concluded this is a serious case.

“It involves the death of a young man aged 28, a father of a young son, someone who tragically is accepted to have had a proactive approach to health and safety.

“The failure on the part of the management of the company was not, I stress, with a view to profit. The failure was to ensure the provision of adequate training, information and instruction on the shredder and, in particular, on the deployment of the over band magnet.

“I am satisfied that the tragic loss of a popular conscientious employee has had a major impact. There is genuine remorse on the part of all the deceased’s former colleagues at every level up to board level.”

He added the “fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence”, take into account the financial resources of the firm and be “sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact” on it to underline the importance of health and safety laws.

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He said the starting point for the fine was £320,000, but he awarded the firm a 17.5 per cent discount for its admission of guilt, and imposed a fine of £264,000.

Daily Record – Paisley