• Robert Spicer

Farm worker entangled in netting: £30,000 fine for employer

Worker entangled in netting: head injury: £30,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v M Baker Produce Ltd (2017) Lincoln magistrates’ court, August 9

Statutory reference: regulations 11 and 16 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR).

The facts

· In June 2015 a farm worker was working on a farm near Boston, Lincolnshire. Netting was being removed from a crop on the ground using a tractor with a net winding machine.

· The netting caught the worker’s glove. He was entangled in the netting and drawn onto the machine’s rotating reel and suffered head injuries and concussion.

· M Baker Produce Ltd, a vegetable growing company, had failed to properly plan the work and had not defined a safe system of work.

· The machine was not fitted with a trip device to stop the rotation of the reel. There was no emergency stop device which could be reached from ground level.

The decision

· The company was fined £30,000 plus £6800 costs under regulation 11 of PUWER for failing to ensure that measures were taken to stop movement of the machine before anyone entered a danger zone; regulation 16 of PUWER for failing to provide a readily accessible emergency stop, and under regulation 3, MHSWR, for failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

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