Prosecution for Potato Firm after Worker Struck by Vehicle Load

A company which processes potatoes has been prosecuted after a worker was struck by a load carried by a telehandler. The man was walking across a yard when he was knocked to the ground by three potato boxes carried on the tines of the vehicle. He suffered a fracture to his leg. Braegate Produce Ltd was fined £50,000.

The accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that a protected walkway was available for pedestrians in certain areas of the site, but not on all pedestrian routes used. It was found that there were insufficient controls in place to prevent persons coming into contact with vehicles, and that the storage of boxes in the yard meant that those on foot had to venture further into areas containing vehicles than should have been necessary.

5 tips to help ensure safe pedestrian routes on your sites:

  1. Do a risk assessment to look for hazards relating to pedestrians on site in relation to vehicles in the vicinity. Think about how someone could get struck or knocked over, or even crushed. Put the necessary controls in place to remove or lower the risk.
  2. Make sure workers and visitors know what routes to follow, and how to access them. Provide this information in inductions and on-going training. Use signage to indicate which routes are for pedestrians and which are for vehicles. Make sure to provide as direct a route as possible to encourage people to use the designated walkways – remember that people will tend to take the quickest route possible otherwise.
  3. Keep pedestrians and vehicles separate. Ensure drivers and vehicle operators are aware of site rules, speed limits and parking areas to be used.
  4. Provide protection for those on foot by the use of barriers to make a clear distinction between pedestrian walkways and vehicle routes.
  5. Regularly inspect routes to ensure they are clear and unobstructed. Remove any obstructions promptly.

The above accident could have been prevented if simple and easy to implement controls had been in place to prevent pedestrians coming into contact with vehicles. Take the time today to check that all of your pedestrian routes are safe for use, and that they are actually being used by workers when they need to move around your sites.