Farmer Killed In Trailer Accident

Dengie Crops Has Been Fined Over £100,000 After A Worker Lost His Life During A Farming Incident


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A tragic accident in which a farm worker lost his life while under the employment of Dengie Crops has resulted in a fine totalling £128,437 for the firm.

David Dow, a 63-year-old farmer living in the Burnham-on-Crouch area, was talking to a colleague when he leant on a tipper trailer. The machine's tailgate shut without warning, crushing Mr Dow, resulting in fatal injuries.

The worker had been with the animal feed-producing company for eight years when the incident occurred, which followed the recent fitting of a tailgate extension on the trailer.

However, Mr Dow was not aware that an employee in the tractor's cab had operated the controls to close the new tailgate just as he leant against it, leading them to close so suddenly.

Following the incident, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) led to a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The trial heard the HSE had served several safety enforcement notices on Dengie Crops to address its failings, as three previous incidents had seen employees suffering burns, broken bones and in one case, a worker even needed an arm amputating.

Speaking afterwards, HSE principal inspector Vicky Fletcher commented: "The tragic death of David Dow could easily have been avoided had Dengie Crops properly considered the risks associated with the installation of the tailgate extensions and put simple and low-cost safety measures in place, such as safety barriers around the trailer during the work."

She added the accident should act as a health and safety reminder to other employers, particularly regarding the need for assessment of non-routine tasks to manage risks effectively.

Altogether, Dengie Crops was fined £100,000 by the HSE after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 194, as well as Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In addition, the firm was ordered to pay £28,437 in legal costs.

Expert Opinion
This is a shocking case where a worker lost his life in an accident at work that could have easily been avoided. It highlights the need for employers, who have been issued with improvement notices, to heed warnings from the Health and Safety Executive and take appropriate action to resolve failings identified by the regulator’s inspectors.

“Employee safety should always be a top priority and it is vital that employers consider the risks associated with the tasks workers carry out and implement simple safety measures to prevent such a tragic incident from occurring in the future. In our work we see the devastating consequences accidents at work can have for the victims, as well as their friends, family and colleagues.”
Stephen Nye, Partner