Potato firm fined £50,000 for telehandler safety breaches

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A potato processing company has been fined £50,000 for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a telehandler load.

Colin Smith, 62, was walking across a yard in January last year when he was struck by potato boxes on the tines of a telehandler operated by another employee, Leeds Magistrates’ Court was told.

The impact knocked him to the ground, fracturing his left leg.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found the company had insufficient measures in place to prevent people being struck by a vehicle.

The company also failed to ensure forklift truck and telehandler operators were clear what the site rules were around the transportation of potato boxes and to effectively enforce these.

Braegate Produce Ltd of Braegate Lane, Colton, Tadcaster admitted breaching health and safety regulations. It was fined £50,000 with £962 costs.

Afterwards, HSE inspector Kate Dixon saidd: “Companies need to organise transport operations to reduce the risk it poses to pedestrians. 

“This should include consideration of the site, driver and vehicles. There are some quick, easy and inexpensive steps that can be implemented.”