Demolition of fire-damaged woodchip bunkers at Sonae’s Knowsley chipboard factory has been put on hold pending a Health & Safety Executive inquiry into the death of a demolition worker there on Saturday.

James Dennis Kay, 62, who worked for Andrew Connolly Demolition, was found with serious injuries and died at the scene.

Demolition firm managing director Andrew Connolly said “a full investigation is under way to establish exactly what happened in the segregated area of the plant that was under our control”.

And a spokesperson for Sonae said that the demolition of the bunkers, which were damaged in a fire on June 9, would be suspended until the HSE inquiry was over.

The company is aiming to be back up to 80% capacity at Knowsley from October. Chipboard production was halted by the fire, although value-added board manufacture has continued.

Commenting on Saturday’s accident, Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd managing director Nigel Graham said “our deepest heart-felt condolences are with Mr Kay’s family and our thoughts are also with his colleagues”.

He added that Sonae was unable to speculate as to how the accident happened.