Leeds & West Yorkshire

Normanton firm fined £66,000 over fatal varnish crush

A company has been fined over health and safety failings after a worker was crushed to death by a tonne of varnish.

Wayne Potts, 39, was killed after a silo of varnish slid from a forklift truck and toppled onto him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Gardiner Colours Ltd failed to spot the risks involved with carrying out the task.

The company, from Normanton, West Yorkshire, was fined £66,000 at Leeds Crown Court.

It was also ordered to pay £50,000 in court costs after admitting breaching health and safety regulations.

'Avoidable death'

The court heard a customer asked for the liquid to be sent in 10kg plastic containers and workers were tasked with decanting the varnish from a silo.

As Mr Potts carried out the task, the silo slipped and fell directly onto him. He died later in hospital.

The health and safety watchdog found a combination of the heavy load and the downward tilt of the forks caused the silo to fall.

It said the fatal incident was not the first time a load had fallen from a forklift truck and a previous incident should have alerted the company to future risks.

HSE Inspector Phil Burgess said: "Every worker should quite rightly expect that they will return home safely from work every day.

"Sadly this did not happen for Wayne Potts that day but there is no doubt that his 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."

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