Hull Crown Court heard how the worker had been contracted to complete electrical work at the company’s Hull site in October 2013 when the incident happened.
The worker was wiring a motor situated above a machine while standing on a stepladder, which had been provided by Greencore, when he fell and suffered fatal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety executive (HSE) found that Greencore failed to properly plan the work, including providing safe access to the motor.
‘Death could have been prevented’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: “Work at height regulations require that all work at height is properly planned and appropriate access is provided. If Greencore had carried this out this death could have been prevented.”
Greencore Grocery Ltd of Apex Park, Amsterdam Road, Sutton Fields Industrial Estate Hull, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £1M and ordered to pay costs of £30,000.
This latest fine followed a series of high profile health and safety convictions that have cost food and drink manufacturers more than £1M in costs.
Warburtons was fined £1.9M in July for safety failings, after a worker’s arm was trapped against a running conveyor belt.
Fined £2M for safety failings
Meanwhile, in May, prepared foods manufacturer Bakkavor was fined £2M for safety failings, after one of its workers died when plastic bales fell on top of him.
Large turnover companies could soon see fines of more than £10M for a single health and safety offence, warned DWF partner Dominic Watkins in May, thanks to tougher sentencing guidelines.
Under the new rules, companies with turnovers of more than £50M could be fined up to £20M for corporate manslaughter, up to £10M for health and safety offences and up to £3M for breach of food safety regulations.
“While the overall number of firms being fined has not changed that much, what has changed is the size of those fines,” Watkins said. “We are seeing a seismic shift in the level of fines being handed down.”
Food manufacturers fined millions this year
- Warburtons fined £2M in January after a worker fell from height
- Bakkavor fined £2M in May after a worker suffered fatal injuries
- Warburtons fined £1.9M in July after a worker was injured on a conveyor belt
- Greencore fined £1M in September after a contractor fell from a stepladder and died