A Teesside pig farming business has been fined for safety failings after a worker was struck and seriously injured by a feed hopper that fell from the forks of a loader.

Imogen Simpson, 45, of Easington, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, sustained two skull fractures, a crushed left ankle and had her leg broken in four places in the incident at F Brunton & Sons Ltd in Guisborough, on 21 June 2012.

At a hearing on Monday (30 September), Teesside Magistrates’ Court was told another worker at the firm’s Poplar Farm premises was trying to fill feed bags from a hopper suspended on the forks of a loader vehicle when a blockage stopped the feed flowing.

In an attempt to free this, the loader operator moved the forks up and down, which caused the hopper to slip and fall, striking Mrs Simpson as she walked around a corner.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and found the loader was unsuitable for the task at hand, and also that there was no safe system of dealing with feed blockages.

F Brunton & Sons Ltd, of Poplar Farm, Middlesbrough Road, Guisborough, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,153.40 costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills said: “Imogen Simpson sustained serious injuries and has been unable to return to a job that she loved in an incident that was entirely preventable. She can no longer enjoy simple activities such as walking her two dogs and has to use a stick just to get about.

“By failing to use suitable equipment the firm needlessly put its employees at risk.”

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