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Farm worker suffers serious injury due to faulty machinery

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
16th August 2018
Combine Harvester

The agricultural industry is one of the most dangerous environments to work in from a health and safety perspective. With high rates of injury and fatalities employers need to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to the safety of their workers.

Most farm operators understand the dangers involved in the agricultural industry and have the correct safety measures in place. However, accidents do happen and more often than not this is due to faulty equipment or machinery. 

Farming company, Dullam & Co, did not have the necessary procedures in place when a 44-year old farm worker was operating a combine harvester and his overalls became entangled in the drum feed intake of the machine close to the thresher. As a result, his legs became stuck before being pulled in and becoming trapped. 

The worker had discovered a blockage in the machine and climbed up over the comber to inspect further. He stood on a platform close to where the drum feed was located when suddenly the machine restarted, and he became trapped, suffering serious injury. 

The Health and Safety Executive conducted an investigation into the incident and found that the there was a lack of effective guarding around the mouth of the machine. This meant there was no protection for the farm worker when he climbed onto the machine and he was drawn into the thresher feet first.

The incident resulted in legal proceedings and at Exeter Crown Court Dullam & Co pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000 as well as a victim surcharge of £120. 

With the correct provisions in place this incident could have been avoided. If the machinery had been regularly checked the company would have known the guarding was faulty and could have taken the appropriate measures to rectify it.

It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure all machinery is maintained and assessed in the correct way to minimise the danger to employees. Regular checks of any farm equipment should be carried out otherwise your company could be at risk.