The Spalding firm Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after an investigation revealed the firm did not implement effective measures to allow vehicles and pedestrians to use the site safely.
Farm manager Peter Barney, aged 58, of Broadgate, Weston, was hit by the forklift while walking from his car across the yard at Middle Farm, in Moulton Seas End on October 31 2010.
Crushed by the forklift truck
Lincoln Crown Court was told on Friday (January 3) that the accident happened when Barney was walking to a potato grading shed. The manager – who had worked for the firm for 38 years – died on the farm after being crushed by the forklift truck driven by an employee.
The court heard that the firm had failed to implement the recommendations of safety consultants to segregate pedestrians and vehicles, after conducting a risk assessment in 2003.
Workers were allowed to park their cars on the site in areas that brought them into contact with workplace vehicles. Some workers used the same entrance to the grading shed as the forklift truck.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “If Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd had taken effective steps to keep employees safe, Mr Barney would still be alive today.
‘Significant risk of being struck’
“Employees on foot were using the same doorway as the forklift truck, which meant there was a significant risk of them being struck.”
The firm should have managed the yard so that people and vehicles were not sharing the same space, he added. “Sadly, Mr Barney lost his life because this simple procedure wasn’t in place.”
Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd, of Wool Hall Farm, Wykeham, Spalding, was fined £165,000 and ordered to pay £39,500 in costs, after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE advice about the safe use of forklift trucks is available here.