Grower fined after injury to worker who was entangled in netting

A vegetable grower has been sentenced after a worker became entangled in netting on a field near Boston, Lincolnshire.

Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how on 27 June 2015 netting was being removed from a crop on a field using a tractor mounted hydraulic net winding machine in a field near Frampton, Boston, Lincolnshire.

The netting caught the glove of the worker on the ground, who was pulled onto the rotating reel and his head hit the metal frame of the machine. He suffered a head injury and concussion.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that M Baker Produce Limited failed to properly plan the activity and a safe system of work was not defined. The machine was not fitted with a trip device to stop the rotation of the reel and prevent anyone getting caught by the netting being wound up onto the rotating reel. Nor was there an emergency stop device that could be reached from ground level.

M Baker Produce Limited pleaded guilty to being in breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) Regulation 11(1) by failing to ensure measures were taken that are effective to stop the movement of the machine before anyone enters a danger zone. The company also pleaded guilty to a breach of PUWER Regulation 16(1) by failing to provide a readily accessible emergency stop on the machine, and a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Regulation 3 (1) by failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the task. M Baker Produce Limited was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,800. 

After the hearing HSE inspector Martin Giles commented: "This incident was easily prevented and the injuries could have been more serious. Employers should make sure they properly plan work and apply effective control measures to minimise the danger from machinery."

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