Safety changes made after worker’s death

CHANGES have been made to improve safety at a Corby firm after a woman was fatally injured.

Desanka Todorovic, 44, of Croyde Avenue, in the town, died in Kettering General Hospital, on March 16, 2009, from multiple injuries about an hour after boxes from a forklift truck toppled and landed on her.

A jury at an inquest in to her death at Northampton Crown Court recorded a narrative verdict yesterday.

The inquest heard a series of new operating procedures were made following Mrs Todorovic’s death to increase safety at Merley Paper Converters in Pilot Road.

On Thursday the inquest was told Croatian-born Mrs Todorovic had requested the boxes from supervisor Daniel Cruse on the morning of her death.

A forklift truck operated by Dominic South, who had not yet taken a forklift truck test but described himself as a “confident” driver and was being supervised by Mr Cruse, started moving pallets to access the boxes on racking. He described hearing a “click” before boxes came tumbling down on to Mrs Todorovic.

Roger Amery, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, told the hearing he noticed straight away that beam locking pins were missing from the racking.

Mr Todorovic’s husband Jovan, who was nearby as he also worked for the printing firm, saw blood running down her face as he helped Mr South remove the load.

Allan Dyson, managing director of the company, told the inquest the racking has since been replaced and is regularly inspected. Since the accident, only certified forklift truck drivers are permitted to operate the machines. The company has also introduced designated areas for staff to visit the warehouse.

The verdict stated: “Desanka Todorovic died on March 16, 2009, when she sustained multiple injuries whilst working in a warehouse at Merley Paper Converters in Pilot Road, Corby, Northamptonshire, when pallets being lifted by a forklift truck caused boxes above to fall on top of her, partly caused because the racking system at the premises had been installed without sufficient beam safety locks being fitted.”

Mr Cruse and former employee Trevor Varley, had installed the racking several years earlier.

Assistant deputy coroner for Northamptonshire Tom Osborne said to Mr Todorovic: “What can I say to you other than I am sure that all those in the coroners office and I am sure the jury as well would like me to express our own condolences to you and your family for the sad circumstances of your wife’s death.

“All I would urge you is this, as a result of the inquest and the death of your wife, at least now further deaths in similar circumstances are unlikely to occur.”

The couple have two daughters.