A PRINTER bled to death after slipping on oil and falling on a guillotine blade in a freak accident, an inquest heard.

Alan Dinsdale, 56, was working alone to replace the metrelong blade of the machine he used to cut printed documents, when he slipped on to the razorsharp equipment, Chelmsford Coroners Court heard.

The court heard a man who was later delivering supplies to Mr Dinsdale’s firm, ATS Print Services, at Fanton Hall Business Centre, Wickford, discovered him collapsed by the machine and alerted police and ambulance services on Tuesday, January 21.

Coroners officer Laura Howarde said: “He was working alone, changing the guillotine blade after having it sharpened, when he slipped on oil and fell forward, suffering fatal injuries to the neck.

“Paramedics attended at 1.25pm and confirmed the death.”

It was initially investigated as an unexplained death by Essex and Kent serious crime directorate, but officers found no suspicious circumstances. The Health and Safety Executive also carried out an investigation.

Mr Dinsdale worked alone and had no employees, so had never been inspected as his premises posed no risk to anyone but himself.

Investigating officer Nicola James said the blade was so sharp if a piece of paper was dropped it would have cut it.

She said: “Our evidence suggests the knife was taken off the previous week and sent for sharpening. The previous afternoon it was collected from the sharpeners to be put back on.”

Coroner Caroline Beasley- Murray asked if the HSE thought the oil had caused him to slip.

She said: “The oil container can be seen in the photograph on its side near the guillotine. We did not find the lid. It looked like the oil spill was not long before and could have been what caused him to slip.”

A post-mortem found he died from blood loss.

Toxicology tests found no drink or drugs in his system.

Mrs Beasley-Murray directed a jury of 12 people to record an accidental verdict.