An employee died when he was crushed against a mobile cleaning machine by a forklift truck. He had finished processing wheat seeds when his colleague got onto the forklift truck to move the last bag. When the driver started the vehicle it suddenly moved forward, trapping him against the machine. The company had not done all that was reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their employees whilst working on customers’ premises.
The farming company was prosecuted under s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for not taking reasonably practicable steps to prevent the employee walking into the dangerous gap between the forklift truck and the mobile seeddressing vehicle. They also failed to establish suitable authorisation for driving the farmer’s forklift truck and other farm machinery.
The company pleaded guilty and were fined £35,000 plus £17,076 costs.
Vehicle routes and movements need to be planned to ensure segregation from pedestrians. Ideally areas where vehicles are manoeuvring should be made pedestrian free.
All operators of machines need to be competent and trained on the individual characteristics of machines they are expected to operate. This particular accident happened at a visited site. Employees & visitors need to be made aware of any site safety rules at visited sites.