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Pig farmers in court after worker injured by falling hopper

30 September 2013

A Teesside pig farming business has been fined for safety failings after a worker was struck and seriously injured by a feed hopper that fell from the forks of a loader.

Imogen Simpson, 45, of Easington, Saltburn by the Sea, sustained two skull fractures, a crushed left ankle and had her leg broken in four places in the incident at F Brunton & Sons Ltd in Guisborough, on 21 June 2012. She is still unable to return to work and is unlikely to ever be able to return to her previous duties.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard today (30 September) that another worker at the firm’s Poplar Farm premises was trying to fill feed bags from a hopper suspended on the forks of a loader vehicle when a blockage stopped the feed flowing.

In an attempt to free this, the loader operator moved the forks up and down, which caused the hopper to slip and fall, striking Mrs Simpson as she walked around a corner.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and found the loader was unsuitable for the task at hand, and also that there was no safe system of dealing with feed blockages.

F Brunton & Sons Ltd, of Poplar Farm, Middlesbrough Road, Guisborough, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,153.40 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills said:

"Imogen Simpson sustained serious injuries and has been unable to return to a job that she loved in an incident that was entirely preventable. She can no longer enjoy simple activities such as walking her two dogs and has to use a stick just to get about.

"By failing to use suitable equipment the firm needlessly put its employees at risk."

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

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