A veterinary student suffered severe injuries when she was hit by falling straw bales on her final day of a work experience placement at a leading stud farm, a court heard.
Shropshire horse breeder Edward Matson, 48, of Twemlow’s Stud Farm, Whitchurch, was fined £10,000 after admitting a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations. Mr Matson, who runs the RL Matson & Son stud farm at Whitchurch, was also ordered to pay costs of £10,114.
Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard that the 20-year-old student from Cheshire had been collecting hay when four straw bales – weighing over 1.2 tonnes – fell from a 5.5m-high stack and struck her.
‘Student’s mobility affected’
She suffered severe leg injuries, a broken ankle and was left with her pelvis broken in six places as well as a thigh artery so badly stretched it was close to rupturing, the court heard.
Following the farm accident in August 2012 the woman had to spend 19 days in hospital, was in a wheelchair for three months and underwent physiotherapy to help her walk again. The court heard she still struggles to bend and is unable to kneel or crouch.
Magistrates were told the woman’s mobility has been left severely affected, which has had an impact on her veterinary studies.
The court heard that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation had established that the incident could have been avoided had the bales been stacked stably.