Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

April 28, 2015

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£600k fine for animal feed company after lorry driver’s death

Cargill plc, a leading nutrition supplier for animals, has been fined £600,000 following the death of a lorry driver who was buried under a mound of soya meal.

Malcolm Harrison, 64, from Keighley, was working at the Cargill terminal at Seaforth Dock in Liverpool on 6 September 2012 when the incident occurred.

Mr Harrison, who had been an HGV driver for 43 years and was not employed by Cargill, was at the back of his wagon when the stockpile fell on him. Workers managed to free him and he was resuscitated at the scene, but he died of his injuries shortly afterwards in hospital.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that updated training which had been rolled out across the company’s European and African centres had not taken place at Seaforth.

The new guidance recognised that non-Cargill staff needed to be made aware of the risks of engulfment, and that hauliers should stay in their lorries.

Following an HSE investigation, Cargill plc, of Fairmile Lane in Cobham, was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £20,000 for breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, after it admitted failing to ensure the safety of non-employees.

Judge Thomas Teague, QC, said: “Death was a readily foreseeable, if not obvious risk in this case.

“I have referred to the fact, known to the defendant at the time, that engulfment is the commonest cause of accidental death in the grain industry.

“The company’s failure to provide adequate protection against that risk to non-employees visiting its Seaforth site was a serious and significant breach.”

Judge Teague said the breach was “neither deliberate not reckless” but arose out of “negligence”.

Mr Harrison’s widow, Claudine, said: “Malcolm was the most gentle, kind-hearted and generous family man you could ever hope to meet.

“He was a HGV driver nearly all his working life and was very experienced and conscientious.

“He visited the Cargill site on many occasions and was well known and liked by many of the employees there.”

When contacted by SHP, Cargill said: “Following the tragic death of Malcolm Harrison at our Seaforth facility in Liverpool in 2012, we have been working together with the HSE and others in the industry to minimise the risk of accidents such as this happening in the future. As a result we have now implemented new driver safety signage, rules and procedures on our sites. While we had steps in place to actively manage drivers in our stores, we believe that the changes we have made since 2012 show that there was more we could have done. Safety remains our top priority for the company. Our thoughts continue to be with the Harrison family.”

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