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Walkers Lincoln fined after worker injured by massive Quavers block

Walkers Snack Foods in Lincoln has been fined after a 400 kilogramme block of compacted snack waste fell on a worker, breaking his leg.

The company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

The employee, who has asked not to be named, was working as a forklift truck driver at the company’s site in Newark Road in Lincoln, when the incident happened in December 2010.

He was trying to put the block into a wheeled bin when the bin overturned and the compacted waste landed on him, fracturing his lower left leg.

Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard on September 17 that waste pellets from the Quavers production line ran off a machine into a magnum bin – a large plastic box with slots underneath for the forks of a forklift truck.

The pellets solidified into a large block, which could not be dug out of the magnum so the worker and a colleague used the forklift to turn the magnum over so the block fell out.

But as the block was then lifted into the wheeled bin, it became stuck at the top. When the two men attempted to move the bin, it tipped over causing the block of pellets to fall onto the employee.

He was off work for 15 weeks but has since returned to work with the company.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told magistrates that the work had not been properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner.

Walkers Snack Foods Ltd, of Theale, Reading, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Scott Wynne said: “The task of devising a method to dispose of the waste pellets had been given to an agency worker who did not have the experience or training required to allow him to properly plan how the task should be carried out. As a result it was carried out without supervision and, as the injuries to the employee suggest, the task was not carried out in a safe manner.

“Walkers Snack Foods Ltd also failed to properly assess the risks associated with the task, which should have formed an important part of the planning process. As such the risks were not fully appreciated by those workers involved in the task, and a man suffered serious injury.”

Source: Health and Safety Executive