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Man dies in another Sonae factory incident on Merseyside

08 August 2011

A 62-year-old man has died in an incident at a factory on Merseyside where two people died in December. Police and ambulance crews were called to the Sonae chipboard plant, in Kirkby, shortly before 11:00 on Saturday 6th August. The sub contractor, from Manchester, had suffered serious injuries and died at the scene, police said.

This death follows an incident last December when two workers died after falling into a machine at the plant. A joint investigation into the incident has now been started by Merseyside Police and the Health and Safety Executive. In June, George Howarth, Labour MP for Knowsley, called for the site to be permanently closed down. The comments came after a fire the same month caused extensive damage to the site.

In an Early Day Motion tabled in the House of Commons, he said the complex posed "a considerable risk" to the public, workforce and fire service. In a statement on his website on Saturday, Mr Howarth said he was "deeply saddened" by the incident. "It's barely three weeks since I said that 'as matters stand I don't see how anyone can have any confidence in Sonae to operate safely and with stability'.

"It's too early to comment on the details about this tragic incident, but I sincerely hope that this will never happen again." The move followed a large fire which caused extensive damage at the site.

The plant has faced a number of health and safety inquiries in the past decade, amassing tens of thousands of pounds in fines. Sonae Industria, which opened the factory in 2000, uses wood chippings in the manufacture of chipboard and particle board.

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