AB Agri fined £10,000 after reversing lorry injures two

Agricultural firm AB Agri has been fined £10,000 after a reversing lorry struck and injured two people.

Michael Armitage and Simon Manock were not directly employed by the company, but had visited its premises in North Yorkshire to undertake a plant installation work when the incident happened on 24 February last year.

Northallerton Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday (9 June) that both men were struck by a reversing heavy goods vehicle at AB Agri’s site in Northallerton.

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Mr Armitage was knocked to the ground and run over by the rear wheels of the trailer. He suffered serious and multiple injuries to his arms torso and pelvis, requiring several surgeries as a result.

Mr Manock suffered minor cuts and bruising.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted AB Agri for serious safety failings after an investigation into the incident.

The court heard that there was no suitable risk assessment in place to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles did not come into contact with each other and that as a result there was no agreed safe system of work.

AB Agri, of Grosvenor Street, London, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,239 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of health and safety rules.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said: “The potential for collision and injury is well known within industry and is easily preventable through appropriate methods of segregation, such as physical barriers and non-pedestrian zones, especially where vehicles reverse routinely, and adequate instruction and supervision of drivers and pedestrians.

“Instead, the firm’s failures mean that two workers we able to access an area where there was a high degree of risk and they have sustained injuries. This could easily have had tragic consequences.”

According to its website, AB Agri, which stands for Associated British Agriculture, started out in 1984, taking the leftover pulp from making sugar and using it to feed hungry cattle a nutritious, cost-effective and safe diet.

In 2014, the company employed more than 3,000 people in the UK and overseas, selling agricultural products and services in more than 70 countries.