Surya Rice Ltd, trading as Surya Foods, was fined ₤9,000 and ordered to pay ₤3,214 in legal costs, following an accident at its Harwich factory in July 2010 left a packer and machine operator with a fractured leg.
Colchester Magistrates Court heard that Jan Kaminski was working in the rice packing area when he was struck from behind by a forklift truck carrying a full pallet of boxed rice flour. The 49-year-old suffered a fracture to his right leg and extensive and severe bruising to his left leg and knee.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered several breaches of regulations; including the movement of flour on pallets in the packing area was unsafe as it involved the unnecessary use of a fork lift truck in a heavily congested work area - which limited the driver's vision. The area also did not have properly segregated routes to separate pedestrians and vehicles.
"This incident could and should have been prevented,” said HSE inspector Toni Drury.
The inspector added: “Workplace transport is a priority area for health and safety and the danger to workers being hit by vehicles is obvious. If workplaces are correctly designed then the chances of someone being injured like this are greatly reduced.”
FoodProductionDaily.com contacted Surya Foods regarding the incident but the company declined to comment.
The firm said it has an annual turnover of ₤100m and employs 250 people across the world. It is headquartered at an 11-acre site in Harwich in South East England and supplies a number of UK supermarkets.