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Warning comes when casual farm worker season starts

Warning comes when casual farm worker season starts

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE case highlights warning as the casual working season is starting on farms.

The case was brought at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court after a farm worker suffered serious injuries in an accident at work. His arm was pulled into a potato grading machine.

At the farm in Essex, the worker was clearing potatoes off the rollers. However, the power source to the machine had not been isolated.

The machine was restarted whilst the worker was in a dangerous area.

He fell onto the rollers and his arm was pulled in up to the shoulder before the machine was stopped.

The resulting HSE investigation found:

  1. That there were not safe systems of work to stop machine start up during routine cleaning
  2. Farm workers were not trained or given information about the use of the potato grading machine
  3. Any available farm worker was used to carry out the cleaning task using an unsafe system of work

The employer was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs.

Vicki Wright, Personal Injury solicitor at Swain & Co comments,

“The HSE is consistently providing guidance on safe stop machinery in the farming industry. It is shocking that injuries and fatalities are still occurring due to lack of training and lack of isolation from power sources.”.

Vicki continues,

“Injuries sustained from farming machinery can have life changing consequences. Farms employ casual workers, and we are coming to the start of that season. The problem is that often casual workers are not adequately trained in how to use farm machinery safely.”

The HSE hope this case being highlighted now will encourage the farming business to ensure they train all staff, whether casual or permanent, in safe stop procedures and safe methods of working with machinery.

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