Food ingredients firm to pay £162k for forklift death

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Forklift truck, Truck

Food manufacturer to pay £162k for forklift death
Food ingredients firm AAK UK Ltd has been ordered to pay more than £162,000 after a forklift truck driver was killed in an accident at its Runcorn facory.

The Hull-based business was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following the accident on the Astmoor Industrial Estate on April 18 2011.

Forklift driver Michael Moran was loading a lorry trailer outside the factory when another lorry reversed into the side of his vehicle. He was killed instantly when the forklift overturned.

Liverpool Crown Court was told the 49-year-old from Warrington had been loading pallets containing tubs of mayonnaise onto the trailer. After loading one side of the trailer, he moved into the road to reach the other side when a lorry parked nearby began to reverse. Despite a warning shout from Moran, the HGV driver failed to prevent his lorry hitting the forklift truck.

Failed to put in place safety measures

A HSE investigation revealed forklift truck drivers drove regularly onto a public road to load lorries but the firm had failed to put in place safety measures. There had been no adequate assessment of the risks to employees or visiting drivers using the ‘goods out’ area.

Also, drivers had not received instruction or training on how to load the lorry trailers safely, and there was poor supervision, according to the HSE.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Deborah Walker said: “Our investigation revealed a chaotic and dangerous system, and sadly it was entirely foreseeable that someone was at risk of being badly injured or killed.”

Neither the forklift truck operator nor the HGV driver had any way of knowing they were both about to start operating their vehicles, she added.

After the accident the firm created a no-parking zone along the ‘goods out’ area. This allowed space for forklift truck drivers to load trailers, without having to operate on the road. The firm also set up a booking-in system for vehicles delivering to the factory.

‘Tragic death’

“If these simple measures had been in place at the time of the incident, then Mr Moran’s tragic death could have been avoided,”​ said Walker.

AAK UK Ltd, of King George Dock in Hull, was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £22,657 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The firm told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on May 15 2014 has been a reminder to everyone of the tragic loss of a respected colleague and our thoughts and sympathy go to the family and friends of Mr Moran. AAK deeply regrets the accident and has cooperated fully with the HSE’s investigation.  

“The company took immediate steps following the accident to put in place procedures to prevent any similar incident occurring in the future. Health and safety is of paramount importance to AAK which is committed to ensuring the wellbeing, and safety, of all their employees and visitors to site.

“Thecompany continues to invest considerable resources in health and safety to ensure that their policies and procedures are robust and fit for purpose.”​ 

Read about the most common causes of accidents in food and drink manufacturing here​. 

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