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Livingston firm has been fined £100,000 after a worker was killed when he was hit by a forklift truck so badly loaded its driver could not see him.

George Hardie, 60, from Livingston, was walking across the yard at Vion Food Scotland Ltd in Broxburn, West Lothian, on 2 June 2009 to drop paperwork off at another part of the site.

As he was walking, a colleague was driving a forklift carrying two large empty containers across the yard to be washed.

The containers were stacked on top of each other on the front of the forklift, and the top of the load was approximately 160cm from the ground, making it hard for the driver to see over them.

As the driver approached the container wash, he felt his truck go over something, stopped, climbed out and saw Mr Hardie lying on his back, with the lower half of his body trapped underneath the forklift.

Colleagues attempted to help Mr Hardie before the emergency services arrived. Fire crews freed Mr Hardie, but when paramedics treated him they found he was not breathing and there were no signs of life. He was taken to the New Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but was found to be dead on arrival.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Vion Foods Scotland Ltd had not properly assessed the risks of moving the containers around the yard or made arrangements to make sure the containers were moved in a safe way. The investigation also found the company did not have a safe traffic management system or adequate supervision in place to keep pedestrians away from vehicles.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Peter Dodd said:

"If Vion Foods Scotland Ltd had taken simple steps to keep their employees safe, Mr Hardie would still be alive today.

"Forklifts were being moved around the yard with loads that meant the drivers could not clearly see where they were going. At the same time, employees were walking through the same yard, with no separation between them and the traffic, and no more protection than a high visibility jacket.

"The company should have taken steps to make sure the containers were being moved in a safe way, and managed the traffic in the yard so that people and vehicles were not sharing the same space."

At Livingston Sheriff Court today (18 August 2011) Vion Food Scotland Limited of Kirkton Campus, Livingston, pleaded guilty to breaking Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £100,000.

To view this press release via the HSE website click - Here

HSE statistics can be found at


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A Burton-on-Trent brewery has been sentenced after a delivery driver was hit by a forklift truck while on site.

Peter Jackson, 64, was at Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Ltd's site at Station Street to unload a trailer of empty cans on 20 May 2008.

As he walked along the lines in the canning hall to find a space to deliver his load, he was struck by a forklift truck, which trapped his left leg beneath the forks. His foot and left wrist were both fractured and he has not been able to return to work since the incident.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the firm had failed to follow previous advice from HSE to devise and implement a safe workplace transport system after an inspector visited the site in December 2007.

Molson Coors, based at High Street, Burton-on-Trent, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined £31,000 and ordered to pay £33,042 costs by Cannock Magistrates' Court.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said:

"This incident occurred because of inadequate risk assessments, poor management and monitoring of contractors, and managers failing to understand their responsibilities for health and safety.

"It was an entirely preventable incident which highlights the importance of companies developing proper health and safety management systems that manage risks in the workplace properly, and communicating these not only to managers, but also to contractors.

"Not only had poor workplace transport arrangements persisted over many years, but Molson Coors also failed to follow previous advice from HSE. As a result, Mr Jackson was seriously injured in an incident that could easily have been fatal.

"It is particularly disappointing to see such failings at a large company, which has the resources to deliver much better standards."

To view this press release via the HSE website click - Here

HSE guidance on workplace transport arrangements is available from


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