Category Archives: Farm Accidents

BP McKeefry Ltd Fined for Failure to Ensure Health and Safety of its Workers

BP McKeefry Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a 26-year-old truck driver from Merseyside was almost fatally injured during an incident where his vehicle hit an 11,000 volt overhead power line as he delivered fertiliser to a farm in Maghull on 14 March 2011. The HSE conducted an investigation following the incident and discovered that the firm’s employees were not adequately trained when it came to the risk management of overhead cables.

The driver, who does not want to be name, had been tipping the fertiliser onto the ground of the farm when the incident happened. He subsequently moved the truck forward, with the trailer still raised, so that the remainder of the fertiliser would be emptied. The corner of the trailer then hit an overhead power line which was about seven metres above the ground.

He then jumped from the truck after hearing popping sounds and then the tires at the side of the truck were set on fire. When he noticed that the truck was touching a cable overhead, he got back in the vehicle to drive it away. The company’s employees should have received proper training that would informed them not to raise trailers unless they were more than ten metres away from a power line. The driver also should have known not to get back into his truck.

BP McKeefry was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Imran Siddiqui stated –

“The worker was lucky not to be killed when his vehicle struck an overhead power cable, especially when he later jumped back into the vehicle while it was still in contact with the line.

“BP McKeefry specialises in transporting liquid and powder products, such as fertiliser, and so is used to delivering to farms where there may be overhead power lines.

“Despite this, the company failed to provide its employees with a suitable procedure for working near overhead cables, or guidance on what to do if they struck one.”


Suffolk Farming Partnership Fined after Worker Suffers Hand Injury

A Suffolk farming partnership has been ordered to pay fines by Ipswich Magistrates’ Court due to a worker suffering injury whilst working at Cherry Gate Farm, Norwich Road, Mendlesham on 7 November 2011. The worker, Luke Parker, 29 from Eye, was working as an egg collector for Green Label Farms LLP, when he noticed that one of the bird feeding lines in one of the sheds was not operating correctly.

Apparently it was not unusual for these lines to stop working and farm workers were aware of the necessary steps to take in order to make them work again. The cover of a chamber would be removed and chicken feed scooped out so that the sensor would be cleared. The rotating mechanism for carrying the feed along the lines would subsequently be activated and clear the blockage.

However, on this particular day that Mr Parker was clearing the chamber, the sleeve of his jumper got drawn into the rotating parts which pulled his hand and wrist under and around the machine. He successfully prevented the line from working again by covering the sensor with his other hand and called for help from nearby co-workers. He was badly cut which caused nerve damage and tendon damage in his arms. To this day he still suffers from pain and is unable to fully move his right wrist.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident and discovered that that there was no safety protocols implemented for rectifying blocked feed lines in addition to their being no safety measures in place to prevent the feed line from inadvertently starting up again.

The company was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £8,372 in costs after pleading guilty to two offences: breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell had this to say about the incident –

“Mr Parker was lucky not to have been more seriously injured in what was an entirely preventable incident.

“The company should have had a safe system of work in place to handle blockages, which should have included isolating the power supply to the machinery before anyone put their hand inside the chamber where there were moving parts.

“A secure locking-off of the system would have also ensured the machinery could not start up once the chamber cover was removed.

“Farming is the UK’s most at-risk industry sector with on average between 40 and 50 workers killed on British farms every year. That’s a higher death rate than construction or manufacturing.”

Farm Equipment Engineering Company Fined After Farmer Suffers Fatal Injuries

McHale Engineering, an international manufacturer of farm equipment based in Co. Mayo in the Republic of Ireland, has been fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £70,000 costs by Shrewsbury Crown Court following an incident where the rotating arms of a defective bale wrapping machine hit the head of a 48-year-old Shropshire farmer and he subsequently died. McHale Engineering Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for when they supplied the faulty machine in 2001.

The farmer, George Stokes, died at Tong Norton Farm in Shifnal on 28 May 2009 after an accident involving the machine. Mr Stokes had been on his own as he prepared to use the bale wrapping machine prior to grass cutting season. His brother later found him slumped over the machine. He was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance personnel. The HSE carried out an investigation that discovered how the machine’s rotating arms were not designed to switch off in a sufficient amount of time when the safety trip bar is activated; this means that anyone using the machine was still at risk of injury by the machinery even when they activated the safety trip bar.

It is believed that the machine hit Mr Stokes when all of a sudden it began to rotate; it only stopped after it had taken nearly a third of a turn when the safety trip was activated. Mr Stokes suffered fatal head injuries because of the failing safety trip bar.

David Kivlin, a HSE inspector has said that Mr Stokes’ tragic death could well have been avoided if the machine has been designed to stop when once the safety bar was activated. He then added –

“Manufacturers of farm equipment should ensure that they design such equipment so that safety risks are reduced as far as possible for anyone who enters the danger zone of the rotating arms. McHale Engineering failed to do this.”

Brothers Ordered to Pay Fines after Farmworker is Injured

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted Derek Benney, Richard Benney and Roger Benney, of FH Benney and Sons, following a dangerous incident at their farm Higher Nansloe near Helston. The incident involved a 55 year old farmworker from Wendron who was severely injured when a tractor with a faulty handbrake ran him over in September 2010. As a result they have been ordered to pay a fine of £7,500 and a total of £9,000 in costs.

Colin Jenkinds was in the middle of spreading manure over a field when he had to get out of his tractor to open a gate. The tractor, which was parked on a slope, subsequently rolled forward and ran him over.  Mr Jenkin sustained seven broken ribs, crush injuries to his back and permanent eye socket damage. Despite the condition of his eyes, Mr Jenkins was still able to use his mobile phone to call for help. He has been rendered unable to continue working following the incident.

It was concluded by the HSE that the handbrake of the tractor had not been properly maintained by the farm.

Derek, Richard and Roger Benney all admitted guilt to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Derek Benney was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs. Richard Benney was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs. Roger Benney was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

Following the hearing HSE inspector, Gareth Cottle said that Mr Jenkins could easily have died in the incident. His life has changed dramatically as a result of his injuries and being unable to work. He also stated –

“Farmers must ensure equipment used on their farms is properly maintained and serviced to avoid future incidents like this.”