Company’s failings led to workplace accidents

A firm has been ordered to pay more than £46,000 after two workers were seriously injured by reversing forklift trucks in separate incidents at its vegetable processing factory in Bedfordshire.

The first accident occurred at MyFresh Prepared Produce, at Chicksands, in January last year. Warehouse team leader Chris Bottesch, was talking to another forklift driver in the goods yard at the time.

The 43-year-old sustained multiple fractures to his right leg, hip and foot after being trapped between two forklifts. He was forced to undergo surgery to have metal pins and plates
inserted into his injured leg, and also suffered nerve damage that has left him with drop foot.

Mr Bottesch was off work for a year, before returning to an administrative role as his injuries meant he was no longer able to cope with the physical demands of his former position.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found there were minimal restrictions on vehicle and pedestrian activity in the goods yard at Chicksands.

There were no specified vehicle and pedestrian routes, despite the area being cluttered and busy, and the supervision of yard activities was found to be inadequate.

As such, MyFresh was served with an Improvement Notice to make changes to improve safety. But on April 23, there was a second incident at the yard.

This time a 44-year-old quality control technician, who does not want to be named, was struck by a reversing forklift truck while inspecting raw material. He suffered a fracture to his lower left leg.

The court was told that both incidents could have been prevented had work in the goods yard, principally vehicle movements, been better controlled and managed.

MyFresh was fined £38,000 and ordered to pay £8,320 in costs as well as a victim surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act.

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