Farm and owner fined after worker crushed to death

Penhill Farm Limited and owner Selwyn Andrew Thomas Richards have been fined after a contractor was fatally crushed by a reversing farm machine.

Swansea Crown Court heard the 43-year-old man was contracted to spread fertilizer on the farmer’s fields in Ferryside. On 31 July 2014 he was struck by the reversing telehandler in the farm yard. He died from crush injuries sustained to his chest and body.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the farm failed to maintain the machinery, for which Richards as the sole director was directly responsible. The machinery was in poor condition with visibility compromised by the dirty and badly positioned mirrors and dirty glass in the cab.

Penhill Farm Limited of Ferryside Carmarthenshire, pleaded guilty to a charge of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000. Mr Richards pleaded guilty to a charge of Section 37 of the act, but no separate penalty was given.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Steve Richardson said:

“This is a tragic incident which cost a popular family man his life.

“This case highlights the need and importance for duty holders to properly maintain dangerous machinery and vehicles, including mirrors and glass to avoid fatal incidents such as this.”