Ten thousand pound fine after silage bale paralyses worker

Farmes are being urged to ensure machinery is safe and employees are properly trained after a farm worker was paralysed by a falling silage bale.

Burnley farmer Geoffrey Eccles was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of health and safety legislation.

His case was heard at Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (14 August).

Permanent paralysis

A 21-year-old employee of Mr Eccles suffered permanent paralysis from the waist down when he was crushed by a round silage bale weighing up to a tonne.

The accident also resulted in amputation of a leg above the knee and a broken jaw.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Mr Eccles after the incident at Shuttleworth House Farm in Hapton, Burnley, on 10 September 2007.

HSE agricultural inspector Lisa Bailey said farmers must ensure employees their employees were trained in safe working practices.

“It is essential that all farmers ensure that the equipment they are using is well maintained and regularly inspected to prevent similar tragedies occurring.”


The HSE recommends bales should be stacked no more than three high because heavy wet bales falling from height can cause serious injury.

The employee, a farm labourer, had been working with a colleague stacking round-wrapped silage bales using a telehandler and bale grab.

But the bale grab failed while the last bale was being placed at the top of six-bale high stack.

When the worker went to inspect the cracked bale grab, a bale fell six metres from the top of the stack on to him.