Employee suffers fatal head injuries after metal bin falls on him… A pig farm in Northern Ireland has been fined £187,500 which amounts to the largest health and safety fine in in the history of the country. The agricultural company received the fine after an employee died as a result of serious safety failures at the farm.
The victim suffered fatal injuries after he was struck by a metal bin which accidentally came loose from the raised forks of a forklift. The investigation revealed that the bin had not been correctly secured to the vehicle and when the vehicle reversed it lost control of the heavy metal bin which fell onto the employee inflicting fatal head injuries. The investigation into the accident which was conducted by the HSENI and PSNI also found that the forklift vehicle was a replacement for another vehicle which was unavailable due to servicing. It was also discovered that forks on the replacement vehicle were too large to fit into the sleeves of the metal bin and that it was a completely inappropriate vehicle for the task of moving the bin.
The HSENI deputy chief executive Louis Burns commented:
“This case highlights the importance of managing health and safety in the workplace and demonstrates the terrible consequences of not doing so.
“This new corporate manslaughter legislation clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality.”
The agricultural company pleaded guilty to breaches of both the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. In addition to the large fine the company was made liable for the £13,000 costs taking their total expense to over £200,000 which is required to be paid within six months.
Judge Tom Burgess who delivered the verdict stated:
“Yet again, the court is faced with an incident where common sense would have shown that a simple, reasonable and effective solution would have been available to prevent this tragedy.
“The very definition of the offence of corporate manslaughter is an acceptance of a gross breach of duty. That is a high and totally unacceptable breach in circumstances where the risks involved were high, with the more than foreseeable likelihood of serious injury, or death following if the proper steps were not taken.”
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Wright added:
“The investigation should send a clear message that there is no hiding place for anyone that breaks the law. Robert Wilson lost his life as a result of this incident and we hope that this conviction is a stark reminder that legislation is there for a reason.”