Farmer Fined £100,000 After Worker Killed by Reversing Trailer


2 mins

Posted on 21 Jul 2014

A Lincolnshire vegetable farmer has been prosecuted for safety failings after a mother of two was killed when she was run over by a reversing tractor trailer.

The deceased died while working in a field for M Baker (Produce) Ltd. She was one of 10 agency workers preparing to start work planting Brussels sprouts seedlings. Her foot was caught under a rear wheel after a worker reversed the tractor and trailer full of module plants towards a planting machine so it could be loaded. Her foot was caught under the wheel at the back of the reversing trailer and she was pulled underneath its wheels.

Her colleagues were unable to pull her free and she died at the scene from head and chest injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to carry out a written risk assessment or devise a safe procedure for reversing a vehicle when rear vision was restricted.

HSE found there was a lack of relevant information, instruction and training provided to the workers in the risks from moving vehicle in the fields. In addition, there was a lack of communication between the driver and the other workers in the field, and there was no safe procedure to follow for either drivers or workers during a reversing vehicle manoeuvre.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £18,477 in costs.

Recommendations

  • Control of workplace vehicles and segregation of people are important in preventing a workplace transport incident. 
  • Safe systems of work and risk assessment are required which will help identify actions to ensure the segregation of workers and vehicles.
  • Providing information, instruction and training to the driver and other personnel working in the vicinity of farm machinery will help ensure that they understand what is required when working. Communication is vital between the driver and those working nearby in the field.

Further Information

Specific information on vehicles at work and safe manoeuvring of vehicles can be found on the HSE website

Doyle Clayton can provide support with developing bespoke work activity risk assessments. Safe systems of work and specific procedures relating to vehicular movement can be developed enabling your company to continue to ensure the safety of all personnel. Please contact Sally Beck for further information.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.