Farmer fined after crushing neighbour

A farm owner has been fined £6,000 after she crushed a neighbour while moving silage bales with a telehandler.

Pamela Greenslade from Fernicaps Farm, Wiveliscombe, Taunton, was moving silage into a cattle shed when she trapped neighbour John Morris, who had been helping her remove plastic wrapping from the bales.

Mr Morris was crushed between the telehandler and the feed barrier in the shed, breaking his ribs and puncturing his lung.

Taunton Magistrates’ Court heard that Mrs Greenslade had not been trained to use the machine.

While a trained farm worker would normally have driven it, he was not available when the accident happened on 31 December 2009.

Mrs Greenslade pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws and was fined £6,000.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Tony Makin said while telehandlers were useful machines for farm work, they posed a serious risk if people used them without formal training.

“Because they can be so dangerous, it’s a legal requirement that anyone using these machines is properly trained to do so,” he said.

The NFU said it was important that employee were trained to drive farm machinery and were familiar with their functions, particularly at a time of year when farm vehicles were being used regularly.

“A lack of training and experience can be as dangerous as a faulty machine,” the union added.

The HSE has published a safety alert about rotating arm bale wrappers and the pressure-sensitive trip device on the arm. For more details visit the HSE website 

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