Seafood firm fined after worker crushed to death by forklift

The 61-year-old was tending to litter on the site when she was fatally injured.

Shetland firm QA Fish Ltd fined £80,000 for health and safety breach after worker Karen Allan killed by forklift Crown Office/Police Scotland

Shetland seafood firm QA Fish Ltd has been hit with an £80,000 fine after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches which led to a worker’s death.

Karen Allan was crushed by a forklift while tending to litter on the company’s Scalloway premises on January 31, 2018.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that Ms Allan had heard the reversing alarm and shouted out, but was unable to get out of the path of the forklift which struck her leg and dragged her under. 

The 61-year-old was taken to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick before being transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where she died on February 22.

The subsequent investigation by Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive found the company did not have a health and safety management system, which could have prevented Ms Allan’s fatal accident.

There was no risk assessment in place for pedestrians using the same area the forklift was operating in.

There were no visible barriers to separate these areas and no requirement for employees to wear high-visibility clothing when working in the exterior area of the premises.

QA Fish Ltd did not have formal, documented systems to protect its workers, and instead left them to “get on with it” and use their common sense.

The company pled guilty to breaches of health and safety between January 6, 2014, and January 31, 2018, at the Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “The tragic death of Karen Allan could have been avoided had QA Fish Ltd put in place a health and safety management system.

“There was no corporate responsibility for health and safety and a failure to consider over a reasonable period which put their employees at unacceptable risk.

“This prosecution should remind other employers that failing to keep their employees safe can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.

“Our thoughts are with Mrs Allan’s family who must live with the consequences of the failings of QA Fish Ltd.”

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