Firm Fined After Worker Crushed Under Silo

Investigation Found Near-Misses Should Have Warned Company


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
West Yorkshire ink manufacturer Gardiner Colours has been fined £66k and ordered to pay £50k in costs over an incident in 2011 which cost a worker his life.

Employee Wayne Potts, who was 39 at the time, was decanting varnish from a one-tonne silo when it slid from the tines of a forklift truck, crushing him. He died from his injuries just hours later.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the silo fell due to a combination of the heavy load, the downward tilt of the forks and the valve being used from below.

The decanting operation was carried out without a risk assessment and the forklift truck, which had no driver, was not designed to carry such a heavy load for extended periods of time.

HSE also found that it was not the first time a heavy load had fallen unexpectedly from a forklift at the factory, which should have alerted the company to the dangers.

"There is no doubt that (Mr Potts') death was avoidable had Gardiner Colours effectively managed the health, safety and welfare of its employees and learned lessons from previous incidents and near-misses," said HSE inspector Phil Burgess.

Expert Opinion
This tragic incident once again underlines the importance of complying with the latest health and safety regulations and best working practices. Time and time again we see incidents like this where workers are killed or seriously injured as a result of avoidable health and safety failings.

“We hope that this successful prosecution will encourage companies to take their responsibility for the health and safety of workers seriously and implement measures that will prevent such incidents in the future, which includes improved training for employees and ensuring the appropriate risk assessments are carried out ahead of work.”
Stephen Nye, Partner