Pets at Home worker killed in forklift accident that left him with brain damage

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A Pets at Home employee has died four days after getting his head stuck in a horrific accident that left him with a brain injury.

Shaun Potter, from Middleport, suffered severe brain damage when his forklift backed up and caused him to get stuck between the machine and the pallets it was transporting to the Stoke on Trent warehouse.

The 39-year-old was airlifted to Royal Stoke University Hospital and put on a ventilator, but lost his fight for life four days later on October 8 last year.

His cause of death was given as hypoxic brain injury and accidental mechanical asphyxiation and entrapment.

Speaking as the two-day inquest began yesterday, his brother Richard Potter said Shaun had already ‘complained at work and suffered injuries for which he had to go to the center without an appointment’.

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A helicopter transported Shaun Potter to Royal Stoke University Hospital.

The inquest heard that Shaun had been a forklift driver since joining the company a year earlier and had received internal training for the role.

On the day of the incident, he was responsible for storing the pallets.

Witness Paul Bradshaw – a Pets at Home employee for 10 years – said: “I was three meters away from Shaun.

“He was in a forklift, he put the pallets away and then lowered the forklift to the ground. He had turned away from his position and he was facing the aisle. There is a screen in the forklift and he was on the wrong screen so I told him which screen he should be on, he should exit the original screen.

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“I saw he had to get the pallet relocator. He decided to get up. You were sending the forklift up and down – he didn’t follow procedure. He got up in the cabin with his head protruding, trying to read the license number on the pallet when he was three meters high.

“He got the first three digits but couldn’t make out the rest.



Pets At Home warehouse on Campbell Road in Stoke
Police and paramedics were called to a Pets At Home warehouse on Campbell Road in Stoke

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“When he was reading the numbers, I started walking towards my truck.

“I sat in the truck and turned around, that’s when his forklift backed up.

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“His head got stuck between the cabin roof and the aisle rack.

Paul said he ran to Shaun but couldn’t get into the taxi, so he screamed for help.

Emergency services attended the warehouse around 1:42 p.m.

Carly Smith, a West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic, said she saw his head stuck and he was unconscious when he arrived.

She added that at around 2.05pm he was removed from the forklift and a helicopter arrived on the scene to take him to Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Royal Stoke critical care consultant Dr Omar Bani-Saad said: “He suffered a traumatic brain injury and went into cardiac arrest.

“He was admitted to intensive care for supportive management.

“During his stay in intensive care, he was sedated and on a ventilator.

“He passed away with his family at his bedside.”

The investigation resumes today.

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