Contractor sentenced after hedgecutting accident

A contractor has been fined and ordered to do community service after a retired farmer who had hired him was killed when a piece of barbed wire shot out of a hedgecutter.

The accident happened on 13 February 2015 when Adrian Pickett was cutting hedges for James Headland.

The wire ejected from the machine and struck the 73-year-old in the neck. He died as a result of his injuries.

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Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Pickett had been contracted to do the work for the landowner at Headland’s Farm and was using his own machinery, which included a rotary flail hedgecutter.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Pickett failed to follow a safe system of work, which had contributed to the fatal accident.

His maintenance of the equipment and use of guards for this work activity were also at fault.

Mr Pickett, of Canopus Farm, Frith Bank, Boston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

He was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and ordered to pay £6,558 in costs.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Sam Russell said: “Mr Pickett contributed to the circumstances of this tragic death by not taking the correct precautions.

“He could have reduced the risk significantly by using the correct guarding and safe system of work for activity of cutting hedges.”