Category Archives: Tractor Accidents

Dairy Farmed Prosecuted for Breach of Health and Safety Law

A dairy farmer in Armagh has been fined £1,000 for a breach of health and safety laws which resulted in injury to one of his employees.

In June 2015, an anonymous farm worker was helping to construct a fence on land owned by the dairy farmer – David Murphy – when his left leg was impaled by one of the prongs of a silage buckrake that fell from the front of a telescopic materials handler.

An investigation was launched into the circumstances surrounding the accident and injury to a worker at a dairy, which revealed that there had been a breach of Article 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978, and Murphy was prosecuted by HSENI inspectors in charge of the case.

A hearing was held at the Armagh Magistrates´ Court, where Murphy pled guilty to the charge on causing an injury to a worker at a dairy and was fined £1,000.

Following the hearing, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team – Kevin Campbell – said:“Farmers must ensure that proper systems are in place to prevent employees being injured. In addition, the correct equipment must be used and be maintained in good working order. Any misuse of equipment, or the wrong choice of machinery has the potential for things to go wrong, resulting in serious injury, as was the case in this totally preventable accident.”

HSE Prosecutes City Council for Tractor Accident

The HSE has prosecuted Bristol City Council for health and safety violations that led to an accident in which a park employee broke her hip and sustained damage to her Achilles tendon when a tractor overturned.

In May 2012, an unnamed woman was employed as a park keeper in the Netham Park in Bristol when she was carrying out maintenance work. She was working on a tractor with a trailer attached, and applied the brake as the tractor started to descend a slope. As she braked, the tractor skidded and the park keeper swerved to avoid hitting a fence. As she did so, the tractor flipped over-throwing her from her seat.

The employee was transported to hospital to receive medical attention. It was revealed that as a result of the fall, the woman broke her pelvis and sustained a serious injury to her Achilles tendon. Due to the extent of her injuries, she was unable to return from work for a year, and was forced to take an office job on her return to work. Further surgery is required to repair the damage done to her Achilles tendon.

The HSE launched an investigation into the accident, and it was revealed that the tractor had been acquired just prior to the accident and had not yet been fitted with a seat belt. The Bristol City Council had failed to provide adequate instruction to the park keeper on how to use the machinery in a safe manner.

The HSE prosecuted the council with two beaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The defendants admitted guilt, and accepted the fine of £20,000 and costs of £4,700.

The HSE inspector involved with the case-Kate Leftly-stated that the distress and pain that the employee had endured as a result of the overturning tractor accident had been preventable. She added that the employee had trained for three years to become a park keeper, but had to give up that job in spite of her training due to the injuries that she received.

The inspector also stated that the Bristol City Council’s systems for ensuring employee safety were inadequate, and that they should have ensured that the employee was properly trained to drive the tractor and they failed to identify the need for a suitable restraint.

Combine Harvester Manufacturer Found Guilty of Negligence

The manufacturer of a combine harvester which crushed a man’s fingers-John Deere Ltd-has been found guilty of negligence in designing the machine.

In June 1995, Denis Scollard (thirty years old at the time of the accident) was employed for the agricultural contractors Thomas and William Wright. He was working for various farmers in County Limerick, collecting silage and operating a John Deere 6810 combine harvester.

While operating this piece of machinery, a grass blockage occurred. Denis attempted to clear the obstacle via the inspection hatch. As he was doing so, the combine harvester’s paddles came down inside the chute, crushing the fingers on Denis’ left hand.

After receiving treatment for his injury, Denis sought legal counsel, and made a combine harvester injury claim in 1996 against his employers and received €430,000 in personal injury compensation. Thomas and William Wright subsequently made a claim against the companies from whom the machine was leased and supplied to recover what they had paid to their employee.

The leasing company-AIB Finance and Leasing-and the supplies-Geary’s Garage Ltd-in turn sought indemnity from John Deere Ltd who manufactured the combine harvester which injured Denis.

The manufacturer denied liability for Denis’ injuries, arguing that the accident could not have occurred as claimed as the paddles would not have crushed Denis’ fingers if he had followed the instructions published in the combine harvester’s manual.

They claimed that there was no scientific basis to explain how the paddles could have moved if Denis had disengaged the engine of the combine harvester as he claimed that he had. Despite their defence, Ms Justice Mary Irvine found in favour of AIB Finance & Leasing and Geary’s Garage after hearing evidence from two eye witnesses and a medical expert in the High Court in December 2007.

The judge ruled that John Deere Ltd had been negligent by “designing, manufacturing and selling a combine harvester with a design defect”. They were ordered to settle the injury claim; commenting that Denis´ injuries would have been far worse if the engine of the combine harvester had been engaged.

The decision was appealed by John Deere Ltd, and last week the case was heard at the Supreme Court before Mr Justice Frank Clarke. The judge upheld the High Court’s verdict that Denis’ injuries were a foreseeable consequence of negligence. They ordered John Deere Ltd to reimburse the €430,000 paid in settlement of Denis’ combine harvester injury claim.