Thursday, August 22, 2019

Company fined after potato worker suffers arm injuries in grader

May 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Machinery

An Essex company has been fined £36,000 after a farm worker’s arm was pulled into a potato grading machine.

The 34 year-old agency worker was seriously injured when he fell on to the cleaning rollers of a potato grading machine at a farm in West Tilbury, Essex. The incident happened on 24 October 2017, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told.

The man had been clearing potatoes off the rollers but the machine was not isolated from its power source. It was restarted while the worker was still in a dangerous area. He fell on the rollers and his arm was drawn in up to the shoulder before the machine could be stopped.

An Health and Safety Executive investigation found that CH Cole & Sons (Mill House) did not employ safe systems of work to prevent an inadvertent start-up of the potato grading machine during the routine cleaning task.

In addition, farm workers were not provided with adequate training and information about the use of the machine and any available worker would carry out the clearing of potatoes by following the unsafe system of work.

The company – a farming partnership based at Mill House Farm, West Tilbury – pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety at work legislation. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000.


Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “The worker involved in this incident sustained a serious and potentially life-changing injury – but the outcome could have been much worse.”

The investigation highlighted the importance of advice to the agricultural industry about the safe stop of machinery and plant, said Ms Turnell. The HSE would not hestitate to take appropriate action against those that fall below the required standards.

Ms Turnell added: “As farms start to plan for the holiday season, this case is also a timely reminder of ensuring casual workers are adequately shown how to operate in a safe system of working and the importance of safe stop procedures.”