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Cambridgeshire farming firm in court following wetland deaths

Date:
14 February 2014

A Cambridgeshire farming partnership has been sentenced following the death of a student who was undertaking pest and predator control work at Kingfishers Bridge Wetland in Wicken.

Luke Yardy, 17, from Stretham, drowned on 11 September 2011 when he fell from a small boat while trying to retrieve the carcass of a dead bird from a lake, shot the previous evening as part of a cull.

He had been engaged to work on the site by AC, PC, & RC Green, a farming partnership managing the wetland on behalf of the Kingfishers Bridge Wetland Creation Trust.

The partnership was prosecuted today (14 February) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found he had not been provided with a life jacket.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that Mr Yardy had also not received any training in the use of boats or water craft.

He quickly got into difficulty when he fell into the water. His brother, Ashley Yardy, 22, who was watching from the lakeside, entered the lake to attempt a rescue, but he also drowned despite managing to swim out and reach his brother.

Their bodies were recovered a significant time later after the emergency services were called.

AC, PC, & RC Green, of Wicken, Ely was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £31,252 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 4(2) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Burns said:

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident that has taken the lives of two loving brothers and devastated their family and friends.

“Had Luke been wearing a simple floatation aid, like a life jacket, then he would not have drowned, and Ashley would not have needed to attempt a rescue.

“Those in control of lakes that people are allowed to access by boat should ensure that lifejackets are worn at all times unless there are specific grounds for not doing so. That wasn’t the case here, and a jacket should have been worn.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive 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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 4(2) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of each person who has, to any extent, control of premises to which this section applies or of the means of access thereto or egress therefrom or of any plant or substance in such premises to take such measures as it is reasonable for a person in his position to take to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the premises, all means of access thereto or egress therefrom available for use by persons using the premises, and any plant or substance in the premises or, as the case may be, provided for use there, is or are safe and without risks to health.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press

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