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Food packaging firm fined over forklift incident

14 August 2014

A food packaging company in Buxton has been fined after an employee suffered severe injuries to his leg when he was struck by a forklift truck.

Primopost Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company did not have a safe system of work in place at its factory at Staden Park.
High Peak Magistrates’ Court in Buxton heard that Michael Booth had just given some cleaning materials to a colleague, who was working on a machine, when the incident happened on 20 November 2012.
As he stepped backwards to turn around, he was hit by a forklift truck carrying a large reel of printed film. The 42-year-old from Buxton broke his right leg in three places and was in hospital for six days, where he had metal bars and pins inserted.
The court was told there should have been a separate walkway to keep pedestrians away from vehicles, or the company should have found another way of moving goods around the factory.
Following the incident, the firm began using pallet trucks which are much safer than forklifts as they are operated by someone walking behind them and run at a slower speed.
Primopost Ltd, of Staden Lane in Buxton, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £2,979 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Parry said: "Michael suffered injuries which have had a significant impact on his life because the factory where he was working wasn’t safe.

"Forklift trucks are responsible for around a quarter of all injuries involving workplace transport and so it’s vital companies have systems in place to keep them away from pedestrians. This can be as simple as painting a white line on the floor.
"Alternatively, they should find other ways of moving goods around factory floors. If pallet trucks had been in use at the time of the incident – as they are now – then Michael’s injuries could have been avoided.”
More information on improving safety is available at www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport.