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£16k fine for farm company after crushed worker left "totally destroyed"
A PIG farming company has been fined £16,000 after an accident left a worker with life-changing injuries.
Stockman Paul Teale suffered four broken ribs, a fractured spine, nerve damage and tendon damage when he was crushed by straw bales at farm near Easingwold.
Mr Teale, who worked for Pockmor Ltd farming company, had to drag himself across the farmyard in pitch black conditions after the accident to call for help. He lay injured for 45 minutes before his father and son came to his rescue.
Mr Teale worked part time Pilmoor Grange Farm, near Easingwold, fattening pigs on a satellite unit for Pockmor, which is based in Kilham near Driffield.
On the night of the accident, he was working alone to muck out the pigs and tried to lift fresh bales of straw from a seven-metre high stack, using a Weidemann loader with an improvised attachment, York Crown Court heard.
For the Health and Safety Executive, barrister Ruth Cranidge said that although Pockmor had an informal arrangement with the farm’s owner that he would lift the highest bales down with a telehandler, this had stopped happening regularly and workers had been left to get on with the job.
Instead, Mr Teale used a Weidemann loader to lift the top bales down, but on the night of the accident two bales each weighing more than 250kg, fell onto the loader, pinned him to the steering wheel and left him with serious injuries.
Pockmor pleaded guilty to breaching Health and Safety laws at an earlier hearing, and defence barrister Tom Gent said the company was extremely sympathetic to Mr Teale and regreted his injuries.
“There was no element of the company putting profit before safety. This was a genuine oversight in relation to a unique site within the business,” Mr Gent added.
Sentencing the company Recorder Phillip Kramer read a statement from Mr Teale which said the accident had “totally destroyed” him. "The injuries mean any kind of impact could leave him paralysed, he endures constant pain, and has not been able to work since the accident, the statement said.
Recorder Kramer ordered the company to pay a £16,000 fine and £4,500 in prosecution costs, as well as a victim surcharge.