Essex based farming company, Dengie Crops Ltd, has had their fourth prosecution after a trailer death occurred. The tailgate of a hydraulic trailer fell and struck a worker across the neck.
David Dow, 63, of Cedar Grove, Burnham-on-Crouch had leaned into the back of a tipper trailer to talk to a colleague who was checking the fitting from the inside. He was unaware that another worker had just operated the controls to close the tailgate therefore he didn’t have time to react and duck out when the tailgate closed suddenly. Mr Dow died at the scene from his injuries.
Mr Dow had worked for Dengie Crops for eight years but was not involved in the fitting of the tailgates. This fatal incident could easily have been avoided had there been barriers in place around the trailer to prevent unauthorized access. This would have prevented Mr Dow from entering the site and it would not have ended as it did.
HSE found a number of dangerous practices happening routinely around the site on top of failing to devise and implement a safe system of work for fitting tailgate extensions. This includes an employee standing on a stack of pallets to clean equipment in the vicinity of reversing lorries around the same time as Mr Dow died.
Previous prosecutions include safety failing after an employee’s arm was amputated whilst cleaning a blockage in a crop drier, one employee suffered burns whilst operating the bagging plant and finally someone suffered from a broken arm when it got caught in a conveyor.
After the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Vicky Fletcher said “This incident should serve as a reminder that employers need to ensure they have adequate measures in place to manage health and safety at their workplace. In particular, they should always adequately assess the risks of non-routine operations to ensure suitable precautions are taken.”
Dengie Crops Ltd of Southminister, Essex was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £28,437 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.
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Date Published: July 30, 2014
Author: David Brown