A HAULAGE firm was fined £30,000 yesterday for failing to protect an employee who was killed while unloading heavy steel beams.

Nicholas McKellar, 45, a father of four, was killed when one of the beams, weighing almost 1000kg, fell on him in October 2005.

His employer, Ron Boyd Trading, was fined along with steel fabrication company McDonald and Ross for a total of £37,500 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

The accident prompted a warning from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that haulage firms undertake training to ensure that heavy loads were properly secured and unloaded.

An HSE spokesman said the tragedy could have been easily prevented.

"It is entirely foreseeable that a load on a vehicle will move during transit on the road. It is therefore important that the load is placed on the vehicle in its most stable orientation and that appropriate measures are taken to ensure that it cannot fall from the vehicle at any time," he said.

Mr McKellar had been a driver for the Dalkeith-based haulier for six weeks when he was killed. On the day of his death he was delivering the material for a building in Arthur Street, Leith, that was being built by McDonald and Ross.

He parked opposite the site and unstrapped the beams, which had become loose during transit. He died when one fell and struck him.

His widow, Tracey McKellar, condemned the fines as insignificant compared to the loss she had suffered.

Both companies admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.