TATA Chemicals Europe has been fined more than £1 million over the 'preventable' death of an 'amazing' young dad.

Michael Densmore died in 2017 aged just 37 following an incident at the chemical plant in Northwich.

His foot slipped into a trough containing calcium hydroxide – more commonly known as ‘milk of lime’ - causing chemical and thermal burns.

In a statement issued by his family, Michael was described as 'a loving and amazing role model' to his four sons and two nieces.

“Our lives fell apart and have not been the same since that terrible day,” they said.

“Nobody should have to lose someone they love, due to an accident that happened at work.

“A mother should never have to give CPR to her own son, and a partner, should never have to tell their children that their dad will not be coming home.

“Michael has missed so many life events in the past seven years, including missing his nieces having their own babies, his eldest son giving him a grandson, his youngest boys' communions, to name just a few.

“What hurts us the most is the fact that he will never be able to complete all the plans he had for life, including marrying his Helen.

“The trauma, we have all suffered as a family, cannot truly be put into words. We were once a small happy close-knit family, who all lived life to the full, with Michael being the leader and now we just about get through each day.”

Michael Densmore passed away in 2017, aged just 37Michael Densmore died in 2017, aged just 37 (Image: HSE)

The father-of-four from Halewood, Merseyside, was one of several scaffolders employed by Altrad NSG to erect scaffolding at Tata’s Lostock Hall site.

On November 30, 2016, Mr Densmore stepped over a trough containing milk of lime which had been heated to approximately 90 degrees.

His right foot slipped on an unfastened lid covering the trough, resulting in him sustaining chemical and thermal burns to his foot and ankle.

He was airlifted to Whiston Hospital burns unit, where he received specialist treatment, underwent surgery on December 8 and was discharged a little more than a week later. 

However, on January 3, 2017, he suffered a haemorrhage at home and was taken to hospital following a 999 call where he sadly died.

Inside Tata Chemicals Europe's Lostock Hall siteInside Tata Chemicals Europe's Lostock Hall site (Image: HSE)

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no permit in place for hazardous work in a live chemical plant and those responsible for ensuring staff safety had given 'little proper thought' to the risks involved

Mr Densmore received only a brief induction when he started work on the site some months before and had not been warned there would be chemical product flowing through the plant and the lids to the trough had not been properly sealed. 

The investigation also found there had been previous prosecutions of Tata Chemicals Europe relating to health and safety failures at Lostock Hall and nearby Winnington Lane.

HSE inspector Matt Lea said: “This tragic death could have been preventable had Michael Densmore and his colleagues been managed under a robust permit-to-work system for working in a live chemical plant containing corrosive chemicals which had been heated almost to boiling point.

“Michael should not have been put in this unsafe working situation and should have been warned about the dangers of stepping over the troughs and that they were still in operation.

“Companies should learn the lessons from this incident if they have staff or contractors working in a similar environment and be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Mr Densmore is a father-of-four and uncle to two nieces Mr Densmore is a father-of-four and uncle to two nieces (Image: HSE)

At Chester Crown Court on June 5, Tata Chemicals Europe Limited was fined £1.125 million and ordered to pay £60,603.54 in costs, having pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

A spokesperson for the firm said: "Mr Densmore's unexpected death from his injury was a true tragedy and we extend again our condolences to his family and friends.

“The court found that we and the contractor had undertaken meetings to discuss the work in advance of the project, and that there were systems and processes in place – such as our 'permission to work' scheme.

"We had also inducted all the contractors on site, and it was accepted that information had been provided to the contractor as to risks in the relevant area of the plant including through the provision of 'hazard sheets'.

“We have accepted aspects of our management of the contractors on this particular job fell below the standard required, and therefore entered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.

“This case has taken many years to come to court, and throughout that eight-year period we have made significant investments and improvements in safety and continue to do so, which is something which both the judge and the HSE recognised during the court proceedings."