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Agricultural firm fined £10,000 for accident that ‘could have had tragic consequences’

An agricultural firm has been ordered to pay fines totalling £10,000 after two people were struck by a reversing heavy goods vehicle at the company’s depot.

AB Agri Ltd were recently prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive who said the incident at the Northallerton site in North Yorkshire ‘could easily have had tragic consequences’.

The two men were not directly employed by the company but were visiting the site to  undertake plant installation work when the incident happened on 24th February, 2014.

One sustained minor cuts and bruising, but the other was knocked to the ground and run over by the rear wheels of the trailer. He suffered serious and multiple injuries to his arms torso and pelvis, requiring several bouts of surgery as a result.

Northallerton Magistrates’ Court  heard that there was no suitable risk assessment in place to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles did not come into contact with each other and that as a result there was no agreed safe system of work.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Geoff Fletcher, said: “This incident could have been easily prevented if AB Agri Ltd had put in place a safe system for preventing pedestrians and equipment from coming into contact with each other.

“The potential for collision and injury is well known within industry and is easily preventable through appropriate methods of segregation, such as physical barriers and non-pedestrian zones, especially where vehicles reverse routinely, and adequate instruction and supervision of drivers and pedestrians.

“Instead, the firm’s failures mean that two workers we able access an area where there was a high degree of risk and they have sustained injuries. This could easily have had tragic consequences.”

On top of the fines, the firm was ordered to pay £1,239 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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