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Worker Crushed to Death by 40 Tons of Cheese at Warehouse

April 19, 2017
Image courtesy Flickr user tavallai
Image courtesy Flickr user tavallai

A 32-year-old worker died in late 2013 at a V.F. Cold Stores cold storage warehouse in Dublin, Ireland when a pallet containing some 40 tons of cheese fell onto the man after a shelf rack collapse, a recent inquest into the employee’s death heard, according to various reports by Irish news media.

Robert Ceremunga died on Nov. 28, 2013 from crush injuries sustained in the site’s store room. The Irish Times reported that a forklift driver, who had only worked for the firm a few weeks and received no training, moved 30 to 40 pallets of cheese from lower shelves.

Health and safety inspector Frank Kerins told the inquest that it the forklift could have impacted the shelf or the racks may have buckled from the weight of pallets on the upper shelves, the Times said.

“The whole thing started to sway and the pallets started coming down… it was all top heavy, once it buckled, it was not able to take the weight. Forty pallets came down. The whole room was a mangled mess of pallets,” said Kerins, according to the Irish Mirror’s coverage.

The worker was unable to move away from the falling cheese pallets and was found against a wall in the store room.

“There was a huge volume of boxes scattered around the store room with shelving for pallets of cheese that had collapsed,” said Garda officer Keith McGrath in the inquest.

A jury found the incident was an industrial accident, recommending that operators of forklifts be provided training and that all rack systems should be cleared of products before making adjustments, the Mirror said.

The firm was fined €200,000 in mid 2016 by the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after the company pled guilty to two charges of breaching health, safety, and welfare laws, according to a BreakingNews.ie report.

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