A FARM business has been fined £13,400 after a labourer was left with brain and spinal injuries when he fell from height while putting up farm building.
Eden Veg Limited, of King Cup Farm, Willets Lane, Denham, Buckinghamshire, had commissioned a new grain store from a Portuguese supplier, but because of the COVID pandemic, the supplier had been unable to travel to the UK to put up the building.
The farm business decided to use employees to build the barn themselves.
One of the employees, 34-year-old Florin Morariu, fell from height while helping to install profiled metal cladding to the roof of the steel-framed farm building. Florin sustained severely life changing brain and spinal injuries in the incident on 12 April 2021.
Eden Veg Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £13,400, with full costs of £8,303.08 and a victim surcharge of £195 on 16 June 2022 at Reading Magistrates’ Court.
District Judge Goozee said that the incident had been an accident waiting to happen. The starting point for determining the level of the fine had been £160,000 – this was reduced to £13,400 after the company’s turnover, mitigating circumstances and early guilty plea were taken into consideration.
HSE Inspector Paul Hoskins said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident which caused significant life changing injuries.
“Eden Veg Limited failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks involved in working at height, and as a result, safe working methods were not identified.
The company completely failed to take any measures to prevent their farm workers falling from height, such as installing edge protection and/or nets. Adequate training in work at height had not been given”.
Farms must ensure that safe systems of work and adequate training are in place to prevent falls from height when erecting or maintaining farm buildings.
Notes to editors:
1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
3. HSE news releases are available at: http://press.hse.gov.uk
4. Further guidance can be found at: : Agriculture: Preventing falls (hse.gov.uk)