Glaring gap in risk assessment led to food factory death

Factory Racking

A lengthy risk assessment may look reassuring. But miss out key details and the result can be devastating.

It was just this kind of failure that caused the death of a young father at a Wigan food manufacturing plant, says the Health and Safety Executive.

Unsafe storage

At Hitchen Foods, owned by food preparation giant Bakkavor, massive bales of waste plastic were stacked three-high, waiting to be collected. No one working in the storage area had any formal training. No one had planned how to store the bales safely. No one was monitoring the risks to workers.

On February 4th 2015, Jacek Adamowicz, 29, was sweeping the area when the stacked bales toppled. He was crushed by 703kg of waste plastic and died.

Health and Safety Executive Inspector Ian Betley pinpointed the failing: “The risk assessment finished at the point where the bale was on the fork of the forklift truck, just after it had been baled. Beyond that there was no risk assessment.”

£2 million fine

Bakkavor, which is a major supplier to Tesco, Asda and Waitrose, was fined £2 million plus £32,595 costs for this horrendous oversight.

Proper planning 

Accidents caused by poorly planned storage and warehousing are preventable. Specialist advice from McCormack Benson Health and Safety consultants can support businesses to minimise risks throughout their working processes.