Driffield-based Pockmor Ltd, which operates a pig farming business at the rented Pilmoor Grange site, was fined £16,000 (€19,500) at York Crown Court on the 14th of February after admitting serious health and safety failings in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Paul Teale, 40, from Easingwold, North Yorkshire, suffered four broken ribs, a torn tendon, lacerations and other crush injuries when straw bales fell on him in November 2012. He was trying to remove a bale from a 7m (23ft) haystack when two of the bales toppled off and fell on him at Pilmoor Grange Farm, near York. He had been working alone and in the dark and had to drag himself across the farmyard to get reception on his mobile phone so he could summon help.
York Crown Court heard that Mr Teale worked part-time at Pilmoor Grange Farm and one of his regular jobs was to replace the straw bedding in the pig sheds.
He was using a loader to transport the bales, which had no protective cage against falling objects, when the accident happened.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said: “This was a preventable incident that has had a permanent life-changing impact on a previously fit and hard-working man, with the consequent devastating effects on his wife, son and wider family.
“Agriculture has the second highest rate of deaths of all sectors – only construction is higher – and there were 29 fatalities in the country in 2012/13.
“Pockmor Ltd had not properly assessed the risks involved in moving straw bales or put in place a robust system of work to do so. It also failed in its duties to ensure their farmworkers were adequately trained to use the machinery and instructed in a safe method of carrying out this task.”