Fertiliser firm fined £80,000 after worker is crushed to death

One of the UK’s biggest fertiliser firms has been fined after one of its workers died when he became trapped in an agriculture spreader.

Kevin Alderton, 34, was working as a spreader operator for Bunn Fertiliser, based in Norfolk, when the incident happened in February 2013.

Spreader operators were expected to carry out maintenance on their own vehicles, which have complex computer controlled hydraulic systems for the four wheels.

Mr Alderton was working on the vehicle while it was still running when the rear wheels turned, crushing him against the chassis.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to fully assess the risks of carrying out maintenance.

It had also not provided safe systems of work or sufficient training or supervision, which Mr Alderton had raised concerns about in 2009 and 2010.

“It is a known risk that working on machinery while it is still operating can lead to major injuries or, as in this tragic case, death.”
Ivan Brooke, Health and Safety Executive

Bunn Fertiliser pleaded guilty to a safety breach under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,709.

HSE inspector Ivan Brooke said Mr Alderton’s death was “entirely preventable”.

He added: “It is a known risk that working on machinery while it is still operating can lead to major injuries or, as in this tragic case, death.

“Benn Fertiliser Limited failed to properly assess those risks, put in place safe systems of work and ensure their employees were trained and properly supervised.”

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