A verdict of accidental death has been returned by the jury at the inquest of a 23-year-old construction worker whose head became trapped in a “scissor-grab” machine.

Steven Allen, of Highfield Road, Keighley, was working on a waste recycling plant on Midland Road, Bradford, when he pulled a fallen wooden pallet from a Probst SG 80 machine, and its jaws clamped around his head.

The three-day inquest heard evidence that workmen on the site had not been trained to use the machine, had not read the manual for it and were using it to carry prohibited materials.

It was also revealed that a chain restricting how far the machine jaws could close was broken and none of the workers on the site had realised its significance.

Assistant deputy coroner Paul Marks had originally given the jury an option of returning an open verdict, accidental death or accidental death aggravated by neglect but later withdrew the latter option after some legal debate.

Steven’s mother Judith Allen said that disappointment understated how she felt about this option being withdrawn from the jury.

She said: “Accidental death does not cover what happened to Steven. I am glad we were able to ask the questions we wanted to and the serious failings in the system have been shown “Steven loved working for JB Bentley and would have done anything for them.”

After the inquest, Mick Anitoniw, representing Mrs Allen, said “It is now for the Health and Safety Executive to decide whether to bring charges under the Health and Safety Act of 1974.”

Mrs Allen said after the inquest: “Steven was a hard worker and never claimed benefits in his life.

“He loved going to work, when he first started he didn’t even take his paid holiday he loved it so much.

“It is just amazing how much he is missed, and the things you take for granted when they are here. He was very popular and enjoyed football and fishing.

“I would like to see more care shown towards workers and the correct health and safety and training. It is my opinion that if the correct equipment was used and they knew what they were doing this would not have happened.”