Fined £165,000 over farm worker’s death

Middle Farm, Mill Marsh Rd, Moulton Seas End
Middle Farm, Mill Marsh Rd, Moulton Seas End
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A Spalding farming business has been ordered to pay more than £200,000 in fines and costs after a farm manager was crushed to death when he was hit by a forklift truck.

Peter Barney (58), of Broadgate, Weston, was walking from his car across the yard at Middle Farm on Mill Marsh Road in Moulton Seas End when he was struck on October 31, 2010.

His employer, Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company did not have effective measures in place to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move around the site safely.

Lincoln Crown Court heard on Friday that Mr Barney, who had worked for the firm for 38 years, was making his way to a potato grading shed when he crossed the path of a forklift being driven by a farm employee.

He died at the scene of the incident after being crushed by the vehicle.

Safety consultants had carried out a risk assessment in 2003 which highlighted the need for pedestrians and vehicles to be segregated, but the firm did not fully implement these findings.

Workers were allowed to park their cars in areas of the site, which meant they walked across the path of workplace vehicles when walking to, or from, their cars.

Some workers used the same entrance to the grading shed as the forklift truck.

Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd, of Wool Hall Farm, Wykeham, Spalding, was fined a total of £165,000 and ordered to pay £39,500 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Neil Ward said: “If Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd had taken effective steps to keep employees safe, Mr Barney would still be alive today.

“Employees on foot were using the same doorway as the forklift truck, which meant there was a significant risk of them being struck.

“The company should have managed the yard so that people and vehicles were not sharing the same space. Sadly, Mr Barney lost his life because this simple procedure wasn’t in place.”

Lincolnshire Field Products released the following statement to the Free Press: “Mr Barney had worked for LFP for over 30 years and was a friend as well as a colleague.

“We deeply regret the circumstances of his death. He continues to be sorely missed and our sympathies remain with his family.

“We have co-operated fully with the police, the Health and Safety Executive and the coroner in their respective investigations into this tragic accident and have improved exisiting practices where appropriate.

“The management at LFP takes its responsibility as a large employer in the community very seriously and all at the company remain highly committed to providing and maintaining safe and healthy working conditions.”