Pig farm hit with record £187k fine over forklift death

A pig farm has been fined £187,000 plus £13,000 costs over the death of an employee.

JMW Farms was handed the record fine at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday (8 May) over the death Robert Wilson, after the firm pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter.

The amount surpassed the biggest previous health and safety fine imposed on a company in Northern Ireland of £185,000.

Father-of-two Mr Wilson, 45, had been working at a meal mixing plant on a farm in Tynan, County Armagh on 15 November 2010 when he was killed after a metal bin fell off a forklift, being driven by company director Mark Wright, and crushed him.

The bin had not been attached to the forklift properly, the court heard.

Belfast Recorder Judge Tom Burgess said: “Yet again the court is faced with an incident where common sense would have shown that a simple, reasonable and effective solution would have been available to prevent this tragedy.”

Louis Burns, acting deputy chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive, said: “This case highlights the importance of managing health and safety in the workplace and demonstrates the terrible consequences of not doing so.

“The judgment sends a clear message to the directors in Northern Ireland, whether of a small or large organisation, that they should take health and safety seriously.

“This new corporate manslaughter legislation clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality.”