North Yorkshire potato processing company fined £50,000 after worker vehicle injury

A potato processing company based in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, has been sentenced and fined £50,000 for safety breaches after an employee was struck by a telehandler load.

At Leeds Magistrates Court, the court heard how Colin Smith, aged 62, was struck by three potato boxes loaded on a telehandler being operated by another worker at Braegate Produce. Mr. Smith sustained a fractured leg after being knocked to the floor.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found the company had insufficient measures in place to prevent people being hit by vehicles, as well as a protected walkway only being provided to two sides of the yard, leaving a popular pedestrian route unprotected.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed to ensure forklift truck and telehandler operators were clear about the site rules, specifically about the transport of potato boxes, and failed to enforce these rules effectively.

Braegate Produce has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £962 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health and Safety Welfare) Regulations 1991.

David Scott, Senior Associate Solicitor at Hethertons, said: “This case shows the importance of having clear health and safety rules, and enforcing them correctly. It’s not only the financial cost, but the reputation damage that can affect your company.

“This incident shows why firms need to ensure they understand their obligations. To find out more and make sure your business is protected, please contact us today.”

To ensure your business is compliant and avoid potential financial repercussions, contact our health and safety consultant, Mark Dalton, today.