Sandwich firm to pay £117k for forklift accident

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The sandwich firm was fined more than £117,000 for safety failings
The sandwich firm was fined more than £117,000 for safety failings

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A sandwich manufacturer has been ordered to pay more than £117,000 and its director £50,000, after a worker was crushed by a forklift truck.

Sandwich Factory Holdings Ltd was prosecuted at Leamington Crown Court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following its investigation into the accident at Carlyon Road Industrial Estate in Atherstone on July 29 2012.

Agency worker Jamie Barsby was lucky survive after being crushed between a forklift truck and the back of an articulated lorry, the court was told. The HSE investigation revealed the man was being lifted into the back of the lorry to reorganise pallets of sandwiches immediately before becoming trapped.

The 26-year-old from Atherstone broke a number of vertebrae, fractured his pelvis and suffered blood blisters all over his body.

Unsafe practice

The judge ruled director Paul Nicholson, aged 55, had failed to ensure safety management systems were in place at the factory. Had such systems been in place, the unsafe practice would not have occurred at the factory.

“The system being operated by the Sandwich Factory Limited at the time was a disaster waiting to happen,”​ said the judge in sentencing. “It all arose as a result for pushed growth and a desire for profitability that was given priority over the safety of employees.”

After the hearing, HSE inspector Alison Cook said it was lucky the accident had not proved fatal.

“Mr Barsby suffered severe injuries that could have easily been prevented,”​ said Crook. “The company failed to ensure that obvious risks from transport operations were controlled.”

‘He neglected to do that’

The company director should have had adequate systems in place to ensure the safety of his workers, she added. “He neglected to do that. The provision of a simple set of steps was all that was needed to keep Mr Barsby and others safe.”

The Sandwich Factory Holdings Ltd, of Helsinki Road, Sutton Fields Industrial Estate, Hull, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £57,790.

Nicholson of Balnain, Drumndrochit, Inverness pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 37(1) of the same Act. He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £50,513.

HSE advice about safe working at height is available here​.

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