Sheffield steelman’s works crush death ‘a tragic accident’

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The death of a man fatally crushed at a Sheffield steelworks was a ‘tragic accident’, an inquest has found.

David Roberts, aged 29, died after he was pinned beneath a 75-tonne metal millhouse, which crashed down on to his legs in a sandpit at Forgemasters’ north machine shop on Brightside Lane, Brightside, Sheffield.

He managed to phone his girlfriend and family as he lay injured, Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard.

A jury of four men and five women returned a unanimous verdict of accidental death yesterday.

Julian Fox, assistant deputy coroner, said Mr Roberts, a crane driver and slinger at the factory, died in ‘tragic circumstances at a very young age’.

In their verdict, jurors concluded Mr Roberts, of Adlington Road, Parson Cross, died from crush injuries to his pelvis and right lower leg.

They ruled out the size of the sandpit and shape of the millhouse as contributing factors.

Following the verdict, Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “The death of David was a tragic accident and at this time our thoughts and sympathies are very much with his family, girlfriend and friends.

“David was a good employee who we all miss.”

Mr Fox thanked the jurors for the ‘attention and close interest’ they had paid to the case.

The accident happened on Wednesday, June 16, 2010, at about 10.50pm, after Mr Roberts had helped manoeuvre the giant object into the sandpit.

Engineering experts said the incident ‘could have been avoided entirely’ had the millhouse been laid horizontally, instead of vertically.