A dairy farm director and his company have been fined £24,000 after he and a relief worker suffered massive electric shocks while working at height.
Phillip Mansell, 49, director of Shropshire-based Shutt and Mansell Ltd, and Thomas Woodfield, a 22-year-old relief worker from Market Drayton, suffered electrical shocks of 11,000 volts from overhead cables.
Both were knocked senseless after being lifted in the telescopic loader bucket to work on two molasses tanks.
Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard the incident happened on 30 September 2013 while they were fitting a pipe to one of the tanks at Flashbrook Manor, a 182ha farm in Newport.
The two men slumped unconscious in the bucket, which was immediately brought back to ground level by another employee, Clifford Brown, who was driving the telehandler, the court heard.
Both were treated in hospital for electrical burns. Mr Mansell has since recovered and returned to work.
An Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found it was normal working practice for the dairy farm to lift workers in the telehandler bucket to the top of the silage clamp when regular access was required.
The court heard the telehandler bucket was designed for general-purpose work, including shoveling/loading of feed, but it was not designed for lifting people.
There was no protection in place, such as rails, raised sides or an anti-tilt mechanism for stopping people falling out.
In addition, there were no verbal or written checks on working at height in the telehandler, and the work was not planned.
Mr Mansell, of Flashbrook Manor, Newport, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £1,495 in court costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of section Health and Safety at Work Act.
His company, Shutt and Mansell Ltd, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £800 in costs after admitting breaching Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dr Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts said: “There was a very real risk of persons falling from height.
“It’s only down to luck that Mr Mansell and his co-worker, who were knocked unconscious, fell into the bucket and not out of it, otherwise we could be dealing with a tragic, double-fatal incident.”