30th Nov, 2021 Read time 1 minute

Farm faces fine after crushing incident during demolition project

A farming partnership (J and D Farms LLP) has been fined after an incident in which a 21-year-old employee was fatally injured whilst dismantling a redundant piece of farming equipment on site.

The Magistrates Court at Folkestone heard how on the 30th of April 2019 an employee was crushed to death by a grain drying tunnel during its dismantlement. The incident took place at Fishpond Farm in Tonbridge and the employee George Murrell sustained fatal injuries.

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive,  it was found that the farming partnership in question did not so far as reasonably practicable ensure that proper health and safety practices were in place for the 2 employees. The system of work was also deemed unsafe.

During the dismantlement, the farming partnership did not secure the structure which led to the employees putting themselves at serious risk of injury which ultimately resulted in death once the structure fell.

J & D Foster Farms LLP of Fishponds Farm, Upper Hayesden Lane, Tonbridge, Kent pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,731.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Joanne Williams said: “This incident has resulted in a young man losing his life in what was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to identify their own competencies in what was basically demolition work. All too often those working in the agriculture industry take on tasks which they are not competent to do. As in this case, this work can and does result in serious and even fatal injuries.

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