Animal feed company fined £80,000 after death of worker

An animal feed company was fined £80,000 after one of its employees died when he was buried under tonnes of wheat being unloaded from a lorry.

Andrew Scott Harrold, 33, was working at Transpan (Scotland) Limited’s Tore Mill site, off Harbour Road, Inverness, when the incident happened in February 2011.

Emergency services used a digger, while a colleague assisted with a shovel, to scoop out eight to 10 tonnes of wheat before finding Mr Harrold. He was unconscious and attempts were made to resuscitate him, but he died at the scene.

Investigations by HSE inspectors discovered a bungee-style cord was positioned over the controls that were meant to be operated only by hand – a system which ensured the operator was away from the tail section as the hydraulics lifted it up.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that the tipper was already in the process of rising before Mr Harrold had finished opening the catches on the back door, which then burst open.

Transpan (Scotland) Limited pleaded guilty to a charge brought under Section 2 and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Principal Inspector Niall Miller said:

“This risk here was entirely foreseeable. The bungees or elasticated cords on this tipping control had been on there for some time and there were other devices – such as pieces of wood and plastic pipe – that were used to defeat the safety function on other lorries. Transpan could easily have supervised drivers on site. If Mr Harrold had been prevented from using the elasticated cord on the tipping control, he could not have gone behind his lorry when it was tipping upwards.”

HSE’s website has extensive guidance on the safe operation of vehicles at work, including this page on tipping:

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. In Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has sole responsibility for the raising of criminal proceedings for breaches of health and safety legislation

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