Worker suffers fractured skull in fall

A worker at Cornish tractor company B&B Agricultural Sales suffered severe injuries after falling from the cab of a vehicle in an accident in May last year.

Jacob Wingett from Launceston suffered two broken arms, both a broken and fractured wrists, as well as multiple skull fractures after falling from approximately one metre to the ground below while attempting to change the number plate of a tractor at the Doublebois Industrial Estate near Liskeard.

Mr Wingett was stood on the cross shaft arms at the rear of the tractor when he lost his footing, resulting in the fall from height.

An investigation was launched by the Health & Safety Executive in the wake of the accident that showed the company had failed to adequately assess the risks of individuals carrying out such tasks, while no provision was given to mitigating the risks of injury for staff, with inadequate training provided to the individual and a lack of proper supervision.

As such, the 28-year-old was severely injured and had to undergo several operations after the accident. He was also off work for over a month.

Truro Magistrates' Court saw B&B Agricultural Sales plead guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This led to a fine of £7,000 for the firm, as well as associated prosecution costs of more than £8,000 that were payable to the HSE.

HSE inspector Gareth Cottle commented, "Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it's crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from the risks.

"There is no excuse for employers failing to safeguard workers who have to work at height."

Falls from height continue to be a major hazard in many areas of UK industry, with the agricultural sector one of the most likely in which workers will be injured.

By Francesca Witney