Farmer Left Disabled Following Hay Bale Accident

Agricultural Worker Suffers Serious Spine Injuries During Farmyard Incident

18.02.2014

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reiterated the dangers facing agricultural workers after an accident left a part-time farmer permanently disabled.

Paul Teale, from Easingwold in North Yorkshire, was hit by two heavy hay bales while working at a Pockmor-owned pig farming business at the rented Pilmoor Grange site to the north-west of York.

He had attempted to use a loader vehicle to lift a stack of hay in the air, allowing two bales to fall down the back.

However, the bales toppled forward and landed on the 40-year-old, who was sat in the unprotected cab below.

Mr Teale suffered a serious spine injury, as well as a torn tendon in his right calf, lacerations, four broken ribs and other crush injuries. He was fitted with a spinal cage and suffered a series of minor heart attacks prior to the accident.

According to the HSE, the worker is now 40 per cent disabled and unable to return to work.

Pockmor of Pockthorpe, Driffield, East Yorkshire was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs as a result of the safety failings that led to the incident on November 26th 2012.

An investigation by the health and safety regulator found Mr Teale had been working alone and was forced to drag himself across the yard in order to gain a phone signal and call for emergency help.

The HSE discovered the employee had not been sufficiently trained and the system that he was using to retrieve the bales was dangerous.

Mr Teale said the accident has "totally destroyed" him physically.

Occupational incidents that cause death or serious injury are common in the agricultural industry.

HSE statistics show that one person dies every week as a result of a farming accident in the UK and inspector Geoff Fletcher has urged companies to provide workers with greater protection.

Speaking after the hearing, he commented: "Agriculture has the second highest rate of deaths of all sectors - only construction is higher - and there were 29 fatalities in the country in 2012-13. 

"Pockmor had not properly assessed the risks involved in moving straw bales or put in place a robust system of work to do so."