Forklift accidents

Firm sentenced over worker’s telehandler death

May 19th 2014. A farming company in Middlewich has been fined £50,000 after a father of one suffered fatal injuries when a 1.5 tonne concrete panel fell on him.

The worker was helping to build a new cowshed at Yew Tree Farm in Stanthorne when the incident happened on 8 December 2010. The 30 year old farm worker from Winsford died in hospital two days later.

The farm, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation into his death found the lifting equipment was entirely unsuitable for the job.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the company specialises in dairy farming but chose to build the new cattle shed without the assistance of a specialist construction company.

The deceased was asked to help lift concrete panels into place to form the walls of the new cowshed. This was done by suspending panels from the farm’s telehandler vehicle, using chains and bolts to move them into place.

The court was told the firm failed to carry out a proper assessment of the risks, or to make sure a safe system of work was in place. As they lifted the panel, which was six by one metres in diameter, the bolts attached to the lifting chains snapped and the panel fell onto Mr Bennett.

The farm of Coalpit Lane in Stanthorne, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £28,585 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 on 12 May 2014.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Bennett’s mother said:

“My whole family has been completed devastated by Sean’s death. We are very close and have lots of get-togethers but these have never been and will never be the same.

As a mother, I never expected to lose a child. I think about him constantly. The last time I saw him, I was taking him to work. I never expected that he would not come home.

Nothing can replace the loss of Sean. We have been left with a life sentence and sincerely hope that the prosecution may stop the same thing happening to another family.”