Tractor Firm Fined As Man Suffers Fractured Skull

Company Fined £7,000 After Man Sustains Serious Injuries In Fall

10.12.2013

A Cornish company that specialises in the sale of agricultural vehicles has been fined £7,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries in an occupational accident.

Jacob Wingett of Treburley, near Launceston, sustained one broken wrist, one shattered wrist, multiple skull fractures and two broken arms, forcing him to undergo numerous operations.

The 28-year-old was attempting to fit a number plate to the top of a tractor cab when he lost his balance and fell to the ground. He was working for B&B Agricultural Sales at the time.

He had been standing on the cross shaft arms at the back of the vehicle when the accident happened.

The fact he suffered such severe injuries despite only falling from one metre highlights the substantial dangers involved in working at height.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the firm had failed to adequately plan the work.

The company - which was ordered to pay costs of £8,142 as well as the fine - also allowed the employee to do the job without suitable training or supervision.

Owners of the firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 during a hearing at Truro Magistrates' Court.

Speaking afterwards, HSE inspector Gareth Cottle said employers that fail to protect their staff when working off the ground have no excuses.

"Mr Wingett's serious injuries could have been avoided with some simple measures including planning the work properly, providing proper equipment, such as a platform to work on and adequate training and supervision," he commented.

"Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it's crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned."

According to HSE statistics, 31 per cent of all workplace fatalities in 2012-13 were attributed to falls. The report also indicated that nine per cent of these incidents occurred in the agricultural industry.

HSE inspectors continue to find examples of poor practice and the regulator brought 97 prosecutions under Work at Height Regulations (2005) during the same 12-month period.

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