Food processor Cargill Plc has been fined £600,000 for the death of a lorry driver in November 2012.
Lorry driver Malcolm Harrison did not work for the company, but was working in one of Cargill’s giant silos at Seaforth, near Liverpool.
Mr Harrison, 64, was at the back of his wagon when a mound of soya meal buried him alive. He was freed and resuscitated, but later died in hospital.
Liverpool Crown Court fined Cargill after that led to Mr Harrison’s death.
Mr Harrison’s widow, Claudine, said she was pleased that her husband’s name had been exonerated from blame and that those who had failed to ensure his safety had been punished.
“He was a HGV driver nearly all his working life and was very experienced and conscientious.”
She said, “After the inquest into Malcolm’s death, a significant proportion of blame was wrongly placed on him and his actions on the day were described to be directly linked to his death.”
Liverpool Crown Court heard that updated training that had been rolled out by Cargill across Europe and Africa had not been introduced at the Seaforth centre.
Judge Thomas Teague, QC, said, “Death was a readily foreseeable, if not obvious risk in this case.”
“I have referred to the facts, known to the defendant at the time, that engulfment is the commonest cause of accidental death in the grain industry.”
“The company’s failure to provide adequate protection against that risk to non-employees visiting its Seaforth site was a serious and significant breach.”
Cargill Plc was also ordered to pay £20,000 in legal costs for the case.
The new guidance states that non-Cargill staff needed to be made aware of risks like engulfment and that drivers should stay in their lorries.
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