Animal feed firm boss fined £75,000 over worker’s JCB crush death

A director of a bulk animal feed company has been fined £75,000 over the death of a worker who was crushed to death by a JCB.

Neville Bloss, a driver for Protein Feeds, based at Brakes Lane Farm, in Darsham, Suffolk, was taking samples of animal feed when the vehicle, driven by director Andrew Herrmann, struck him.

Mr Bloss suffered serious chest injuries and died at the farm on 19 December 2011.

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Protein Feeds pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches part way through the trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Mr Herrmann had also been accused of perverting the course of justice by covering up poor working practices by providing false documents. He denied the charge, but was convicted by jury of this offence.

At Norwich Crown Court on Thursday (26 November), a judge fined Mr Herrmann and Protein Feeds and ordered each to pay £75,000.

Mr Herrmann, of Halesworth, was handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He must also observe a four-month curfew between 8.30pm and 6.15am.

Protein Feeds was told to pay court costs of £37,066 and Mr Herrmann £5,600 costs.

Speaking after sentencing, detective inspector Kevin Hayward, of Suffolk Constabulary’s major investigation team, said: “Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began an investigation after Neville Bloss, 53, died at the farm premises in Darsham on 19 December 2011.

“Officers were initially contacted around 6.40pm that day to reports that a man had collapsed at the site.

“Ambulance personnel and police attended and attempts were made by both to resuscitate Mr Bloss. However, he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

“It was initially thought the death was due to natural causes and, as standard procedure with any sudden death, a post-mortem examination was carried out.

“During this he was found to have internal injuries and the post-mortem was halted.

“On December 23, 2011 a Home Office post-mortem was carried out Mr Bloss was found to have died from compressive chest injuries.

“Subsequent enquiries found that there had been attempts to cover up the truth about what happened that day and police began an investigation into perverting the course of justice allegations, resulting in this court case.

“We recognise that it has taken some time to get this result but would like to thank Mr Bloss’s family for their faith and patience. We hope that this now gives them some justice following his tragic death.

“It also serves as a reminder to all employers that they have a duty of care to their employees and that police and the Health and Safety Executive will take action against those in breach of this duty.”