Farmers are being reminded not to carry out work at height without the right equipment in place after an accident on a farm down south.
A North Yorkshire farming business – W Gibson & Son from Mayvill Farm, Cayton, Scarborough – has been fined for safety breaches which resulted in a farm worker falling approximately three metres from a 360-excavator vehicle.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that the 31-year-old self-employed worker had been carrying out maintenance work on the gable end of a barn on the farm.
The worker was doing the work from a non-integrated work platform, or man-cage as it is also known, attached to the boom of the excavator vehicle.
The man-cage fell from the boom resulting in the worker falling and sustaining a fractured sternum, six broken ribs, a fractured bone in his back and three broken teeth.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the farming partnership used the man-cage with the excavator because it believed it had better reach and manoeuvrability to undertake the job of fixing the gable ends to the facias of the shed.
The partnership pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and it was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £787.87 in costs.
HSE inspector, Chris Tilley, said the accident could easily have been avoided.
“Excavators should not be used under any circumstances for lifting people as they are primarily designed for excavating with a bucket and consequently are capable of operating speeds and movements which make them totally unsuitable for lifting people,” said Mr Tilley.
“Non-integrated work platforms should not be used for pre-planned activities such as periodic maintenance.”
He added: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by properly assessing the risk and employing suitable work at height equipment, such as the use of scaffolding or an integrated work platform, including Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs).”