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Merseyside police launch investigation into Sonae death

Merseyside Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are leading a joint investigation into a fatal industrial accident at the Sonae chipboard plant.

Officers were called to the site on Saturday 6 August, where they found 62 year old James Kay with serious injuries, who was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Kay was employed by a company demolishing a section of the Sonae site, which was hit by fire in June.

A post mortem has concluded and the cause of death has been withheld pending further tests.

The Sonae site has been the subject of an Early Day Motion, by Labour MP for Knowlsey George Howarth, to close the plant, following the death of two employees in December 2010, “long-standing complaints”  from local residents and businesses regarding dust and air quality and four enquiries by the HSE in the past decade.

A statement on Howarth’s website said: “There have been conflicting accounts of the exact circumstances which led to this sad loss. It is important that the police and Health and Safety Executive are able to carry out a proper investigation into how the tragedy occurred so that appropriate action can be taken to prevent similar tragedies occurring in the future.

“There is still little, if any, evidence that Sonae has resolved the underlying problems with safety and stability at the plant. When the recent fire broke out in June, Sonae’s management expressed concern that its safety record had been misunderstood. In the interests of openness and transparency, now would be a good time to publish Sonae’s health and safety record in full. This would allow misconceptions to be corrected and genuine concerns to be addressed.”

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