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Primopost fined £30k after worker struck by forklift truck

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By Joe Whitworth+

14-Aug-2014
Last updated on 21-Aug-2014 at 17:53 GMT

The firm supplies plain OPP to the food industry. Picture: Americk Primopost
The firm supplies plain OPP to the food industry. Picture: Americk Primopost

Americk Primopost has been fined after an employee suffered severe injuries to his leg when he was hit by a forklift truck.

The firm was prosecuted by the UK 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, Derbyshire.

Primopost was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £2,979 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to the single breach.

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.

Americk Primopost supplies customers including, The Wrigley Company, United Biscuits, Cadbury and Northern Foods.

It claims to be one of the top three suppliers of plain Orientated Polypropylene (OPP) to the food industry.

The firm told FoodQualityNews.com that it was 'very pleased' that Michael Booth has completed his gradual return to work plan and is now back to normal hours and duties.

"Americk Primopost acknowledge the seriousness of this accident and take a zero tolerance approach to any breaches of health and safety. Indeed our accident record prior to and since this event is exemplary," said a spokesperson from the firm.

"When the incident occurred in November 2012 we worked very closely with HSE to review our procedures and in particular the movement of materials. As highlighted by the HSE, forklift trucks are responsible for around a quarter of all injuries involving workplace transport.

"This accident emphasises the need for our industry to always be onguard for potential hazards in the workplace."

High Peak Magistrates’ Court in Buxton heard that Booth had just given some cleaning materials to a colleague, who was working on a machine, when the incident happened in 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.

Alternative way of moving goods

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.

Stuart Parry, HSE Inspector, said Booth suffered injuries 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.” 

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