Northamptonshire food firm fined £40,000 after worker hit by pallet

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A Northamptonshire food business has been fined for health and safety failings after a contractor suffered severe injuries when a wooden pallet fell on him.

The man received a fractured skull and three broken vertebrae as a result of the incident at the Goodness Foods warehouse, on the Marches estate in Daventry on January 25 2013, Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard.

Employed by one of the firm’s contractors, he was walking through the warehouse when a pallet containing flattened cardboard fell from a forklift truck and struck him.

An investigation by health and safety officers from Daventry District Council found a number of health and safety failings at the business.

There was inadequate provision for keeping pedestrians and forklift trucks apart in aisles, which meant the worker had walked underneath the forklift as the pallet was being placed in the racking, the court heard.

The metal racking was also found to be in a poor condition and staff were not given proper health and safety training or supervision, magistrates were told.

Appearing before the court last Thursday (Sepember 17) House of Goodness admitted eight offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £11,284.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Mike Warren, health and housing porfolio holder on Daventry District Council, said: “This case highlights the importance of having robust health and safety policies and practices in place. Businesses have a duty to ensure there are safe systems that allow people to work there without risk to their health.

“Unfortunately House of Goodness failed in that duty with the result that a worker suffered life-changing injuries in an incident that could so easily have been prevented. We welcome the decision of the court.”

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