DESPERATE attempts were made to save the life of a company boss who was crushed by a fuel tank an inquest heard.

Martin Channon, 54, of Raven Lane, Billericay, and owner and director of Modular Building Systems, died on May 30 when a fuel tank containing 45 gallons of red diesel toppled off a forklift truck and fell on top of him.

An inquest heard he had been trying to tilt the container with colleague, Vincent Hills, to empty it at the site in Convent Lane, Bocking, near Braintree, when it became unsteady on the forks of the truck.

Mr Hills was driving the vehicle. He said: "As it came forward I shouted 'get out the way quick' or words to that effect, the next thing it had just gone.
"By the time I finished saying that the tank was on top of him."

Mr Hills called 999, removed the tank with the forklift truck and started to pump Mr Channon's chest in a bid to revive him, but he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

A postmortem examination found Mr Channon died of multiple injuries. Toxicology tests found no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system.

Essex Police ruled there were no suspicious circumstances and handed over the investigation to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Engineering expert Dave Rudland is a specialist inspector for the HSE. He examined both the forklift truck and the double-skinned fuel tank after Mr Channon's death.

Although he found some faults with the truck, including poor brakes and "makeshift" locking pins to secure the forks, he said they did not contribute to the outcome.

Although he said the pins had not been locked in properly to secure the forks, Mr Hills said they were in place when they started the job.

Family members including Mr Channon's mum Eileen, sisters Carole Willis, Kim Penson and brother Graham Channon were at the inquest at County Hall, Chelmsford.

After a jury ruled Mr Channon died as a result of an accident, the family said it was what they had expected.

Mr Channon, who had two step-sons, had lived in Langdon Hills before moving to Billericay with his wife, Cheryl, 22 years ago.