The owners of a Northumberland farm have been fined after a concrete slab fell and crushed a worker’s leg.
David Taylor was working at Flotterton Farm, in Thropton, Morpeth, when the accident happened in August 2014.
Mid and South East Northumberland Magistrates Court heard that on Mr Taylor and another farmworker were using a JCB telehandler with a fork attachment to build cattle troughs using reinforced panels weighing about 1,500kg.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutor told the court that the men wrapped a hook-ended chain around the forks and attached the hooks to lifting hoops on the panels.
As the cattle troughs were to be built inside a shed, the employees realised they could not get the telehandler boom through while lifting the panel.
They lowered the panel to the ground and intended to shorten the chain. However, the panel was not adequately supported and it fell onto Mr Taylor’s legs, causing crush injuries.
Mr Taylor suffered six fractures to his lower right leg and was airlifted to hospital where he underwent surgery to add a metal rod in his tibia. He could not put any weight on his leg for four months.
HSE said the defendant, Messrs F T Walton, of Flotterton Farm, should have adequately planned the lifting. It should have ensured suitable equipment was available for the lifting, to ensure that it could be carried out safely.
Messrs F T Walton admitted breaching health and safety rules and were fined £5,000 and told to pay HSE court costs of £1,096. A compensation order of £2,000 was also made to Mr Taylor.
Following the accident, Mr Taylor told his local newspaper the Chronicle: “It could have been fatal. I could have died if the panel had fallen slightly differently.”