The 29-year-old worker and father of one child, Jacek Adamowicz, was cleaning a storage yard when plastic bales weighing 703kg fell on him, trapping him against the ground on February 4 2015, Manchester Crown Court was told on Friday (April 28).
The worker’s employer Hitchen Foods, owned by the Bakkavor Group, had failed to consider and properly plan the stacking and storage of the bales, the court heard.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed the stacking of plastic bales at the site was unsafe. Bakkavor Foods Ltd had failed to implement properly planned safe systems of work for its employees, who were exposed to unacceptable risks during the stacking of the bales.
Also, there was no formal training in stacking bales and lack of monitoring in the bale area, the HSE investigation showed.
‘Fell far short of the required standard’
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Ian Betley said: “Bakkavor Foods Limited fell far short of the required standard expected.
“Not only should proper planning have been carried out in relation to the storage and stacking of waste bales, but also a system of work subsequently put in place to mitigate those risks. The company failed on both of these counts with devastating consequences.”
Bakkavor Foods Ltd Foods of Dobson Park Way, Wigan plead guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work at 1974 and was fined £2M with £32,595.10 costs.
Fined £2M with £32,595.10 costs
A Bakkavor spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The company, its board and senior managers extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Adamowicz who very sadly passed away after an accident at our Hitchen Foods site in Wigan on February 4 2015.
“As a major food producer, we take health and safety extremely seriously, which was acknowledged by the court when passing sentence. The safety of our employees is core to our business and we are committed to ensuring industry-leading safety standards across all of our sites.”
The spokesman added that after the accident a full and thorough investigation of the manufacturer’s “stringent health and safety processes” was carried out. “Necessary corrective actions and improvements were immediately instigated to prevent anything similar from happening again,” he said.
Meanwhile, in January Warburtons was fined £2M for health and safety failings, after a worker was hospitalised after sustaining life-changing injuries following a fall from a mixing machine.