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A farming company based in Lincolnshire has been fined after one of its managers suffered from a fatal accident at work.
Peter Barney, 58, from Broadgate in Weston, was walking from his car across the site's yard when he was hit by a forklift truck on October 31st 2010.
Jurors at Lincoln Crown Court were told the man was making his way to a potato grading shed when he accidentally walked in front of the forklift truck, which was being operated by a farm employee.
After being informed of the man's death, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the exact circumstances of the fatal accident.
Investigators concluded that vehicles and pedestrians were not properly segregated, despite safety consultants highlighting this as a priority in 2003, almost seven years before the accident took place.
Workers regularly had to pass through an area with high levels of car and forklift truck activity, something that was deemed a failing by the HSE.
For its part in Mr Barney's death Lincolnshire Field Products was fined a total of £165,000 and was told to pay £39,500 in prosecution costs after executives decided to plead guilty to two separate breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Neil Ward said, "If Lincolnshire Field Products 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 hit. 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."
The HSE has recently become more strict on the topic of pedestrian and traffic segregation, with inspectors believing it poses one of the greatest threats to life on construction sites across the UK.
By Francesca Witney
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