Farmer fined £8,000 after dumper truck accident

A Devon farmer has been fined £8,000 plus costs of more than £15,000 after a teenage worker suffered serious head injuries when a six-tonne dumper he was driving overturned.

The 19-year-old and his friend, who was just 16, had been paid to move excavated material as part of improvement works at Upper Kingswell Farm, Longdown, near Exeter in August 2019.

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However, farmer Richard Palfrey had failed to ask either for their age or what experience they had before giving them just a short briefing of what he wanted them to do.

Yeovil Magistrates’ Court heard that the young workers had only been on the farm for a few hours before the dumper overturned.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the route that Mr Palfrey told them to take was steeper than the vehicle’s manufacturer said it could work on.

The dumper’s seat was covered with a fertiliser bag, meaning its seat belt could not be worn.

The 19-year-old was treated in intensive care, but made a full recovery.

Mr Palfrey pleaded guilty to breaching  Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,324.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “Farmers should ensure that only properly trained and qualified people use work equipment on their farms, and that any equipment they provide is safe to use.”