Daylesford Organic Pleads Guilty To JCB Death

Family’s Lawyer Says Important Health And Safety Lessons Must Be Learnt From ‘Totally Avoidable’ Death

11.12.2009

Gloucester Crown Court has today received a guilty plea for charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, following a fatal work accident involving a Cotswolds farm worker who fell from a JCB and was crushed to death.

Today’s prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) against Daylesford Organic Farm, owned by Lady Carole Bamford, wife of JCB Chairman, Lord Anthony Bamford. It follows the death of 57 year old Tony Cripps from Chipping Norton on 5th June 2007, who fell from a tractor bucket, whilst picking elderflowers at the farm.

Mr Cripps, from Chipping Norton, who was married with three children, had been employed for five months as a market garden worker at Daylesford Organic Farm, Daylesford, near Stow on the Wold.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Cripps’ family, Stuart Henderson, a Partner with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: "This was a particularly horrific workplace accident, which tragically took the life of a much loved member of the local Chipping Norton community. It is clear to us that this accident was totally avoidable and could and should have been prevented if proper safety procedures had been followed by his employers.

“This accident would have been prevented if safe working practices had been followed and a suitable platform or similar equipment should have been provided to pick the elderflowers. It was patently unsafe to allow workers to be carried in the open bucket of a moving JCB Loadall being driven by an untrained driver.

“Our view from the outset has been that health and safety training and risk management were not given anything near the attention they deserved.

“Daylesford has built a high class reputation for providing fine quality produce at premium prices. However, behind the scenes, it would appear that the same ethos did not extend to its own workers and health & safety measures and proper training would appear to have been anything but first-rate.

“We very much hope that working procedures have since changed at Daylesford and that as a consequence of this tragic but totally avoidable accident the management of Daylesford Organic and indeed the wider farming industry will have learnt important lessons about the dangers of cutting corners with health and safety.

“Farming remains one of the most dangerous industries in the UK and this case is a timely reminder of those dangers and the need to pay close attention to health and safety especially during the winter months when there can be increased risk to farm workers.

“We are currently pursuing a claim for damages on behalf of Mr Cripps’ family and the conviction today, following the HSE’s prosecution, strengthens the family’s claim further, which will be the subject of future court proceedings.”