An employee of Pets at Home died four days after his head was trapped in a horrific accident that left him with a brain injury.
When Shaun Potter, of Middleport, was caught between his forklift and the pallets it was carrying at the Stoke on Trent warehouse, he suffered severe brain damage.
The 39-year-old was airlifted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital and placed on a ventilator, but he died four days later on October 8, 2018.
Hypoxic brain injury, mechanical asphyxiation, and entrapment were listed as his causes of death.
Shaun had previously “complained about work and sustained injuries for which he had to go to the walk-in centre,” according to his brother Richard Potter, who spoke as the two-day inquest began yesterday.
Shaun Potter was flown to Royal Stoke University Hospital in a helicopter.
(Image: BPM Media)
Shaun had been a forklift driver for a year and had received in-house training for the job, according to the inquest.
He was in charge of putting the pallets away on the day of the incident.
“I was three metres away from Shaun,” said witness Paul Bradshaw, who worked at Pets at Home for ten years.
“He was in a forklift, and he stowed the pallets before lowering the forklift to the ground. He’d shifted his weight and was now facing the aisle. I told him what screen he should be on because the forklift has a screen and he was on the wrong one. He needed to exit the first screen.
“I noticed he needed the pallet relocator, so I went ahead and got it for him.” He made the decision to take a few steps forward. You’d send the forklift up and down – but he didn’t do it that way. With his head protruding from the cab, he stood. While three meters above the ground, he was attempting to read the license number on the pallet.
“He could read the first three digits but couldn’t read the rest.”
A Pets At Home warehouse on Campbell Road in Stoke was the scene of a police and ambulance call.
(Image: Stoke Sentinel)
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“I started walking towards my truck while he was reading the digits out.”
“When I sat down in the truck and turned around, his forklift reversed.”
“His head got caught between the roof of the cab and the aisle rack.
Paul claimed he dashed over to Shaun but couldn’t get into the cab, so he yelled for assistance.
Around 1:42 p.m., the warehouse was visited by emergency personnel.
Carly Smith, a paramedic with the West Midlands Ambulance Service, said she noticed his head was trapped and that he was unconscious when she arrived.
She went on to say that around 2.05 p.m., he was taken off the forklift and flown to the Royal Stoke University Hospital by helicopter.
“He suffered traumatic brain injury and cardiac arrest,” said Dr Omar Bani-Saad, a Royal Stoke critical care consultant.
“He was admitted to intensive care for supportive care.
“He was sedated and on a ventilator during his time in the ICU.”
“He passed away with his family by his bedside.”
The inquest resumes today.