Company fined £176k over death of employee killed by falling food trays

A company which manufactures freshly prepared meals has been fined £176,000 after an employee was killed when he was struck by empty food trays.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that the employee of Bakkavor Foods was assisting in the task of unloading and moving empty food trays when the tragedy occurred.

The trays the fork lift truck was carrying made contact with a stack of empty food trays, which then collapsed and struck the employee, causing him to fall to the ground and strike his head. He died from his injuries approximately two weeks later.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Bakkavor Foods had failed to ensure there was sufficient segregation between the fork lift truck and the employees.

The company this week pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 over the 2016 incident and was fined £176,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stuart Easson said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident caused by the failure of the host company to implement safe systems of work. This risk was further amplified by the company’s failure to undertake safety measures including segregating vehicles and employees.”

Bakkavor is focused solely on producing freshly prepared food, with the vast majority of the products it makes sold under the private-label brands of its customers. As well as the UK, it also supplies products in the US and China.

The company operates to a ‘just-in-time’ model, manufacturing to tight deadlines. It often delivers on large orders within 24 hours, keeping products chilled throughout the process.

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