Company failed to manage transport risks
A potato processing company has been sentenced after worker Colin Smith was struck by a telehandler load.
Mr Smith, aged 62, was walking across the middle yard to the maintenance workshop when he was struck by three potato boxes loaded on the tines of a telehandler being operated by another employee. The impact knocked him to the ground and caused a fracture to his left leg. The incident happened on 5 January 2018.
The HSE’s investigation found the company had insufficient measures in place to prevent people being struck by a vehicle and that a protected walkway was provided to only two sides of the yard, but not to the right side between the production sheds and the engineers workshop, a well-used pedestrian route. The investigation also found a large number of boxes had been stored in the yard which meant there was less room which meant that pedestrians, including Mr. Smith, were having to take a route further into the transport area than was necessary.
Furthermore, the company also failed to ensure forklift truck and telehandler operators were clear on what the site rules were around the transportation of potato boxes and to effectively enforce these.
Braegate Produce Ltd of Mill Hill, Breagate Lane, Colton, Tadcaster pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health and Safety Welfare) Regulations 1992. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £962.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Kate Dixon commented: “Companies need to organise transport operations to reduce the risk it poses to pedestrians. This should include consideration of the site, driver and vehicles. There are some quick, easy and inexpensive steps that can be implemented.”
The most-read health and safety prosecution and fine stories on SHP in March 2019.