Farming company fined £320,000 after death of worker

A company involved in fruit and vegetable production has been fined £320,000 after a man “who always put family first” was killed at a site in Burscough.

Frank Schlachter, suffered severe head injuries when he fell from a skip at a farm operated by M.A.Forshaw Limited on 3 January 2020.

Frank had been working at the site off Marsh Moss Lane, tipping food waste into a skip from a container attached to a forklift truck (FLT). The container could not be securely attached to the FLT, which was known to detach from the vehicle during the procedure.  As Frank attempted to manually assist in the operation, he was standing on top of the skip when the container slipped from the FLT causing him to fall to the ground, resulting in fatal head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that M.A.Forshaw Limited of Heatons Bridge Farm, Scarisbrick, West Lancashire, had not fully assessed the risks involved in this daily task.  Had they done so, the dangers would have been identified. They also failed to maintain equipment in safe working order and to properly instruct staff in safe working practices.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £320,000 and were ordered to pay £4,574 costs at a hearing at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on 1 February 2024.

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