Farm partnership fined £18,000 after worker fell from excavator

A farm partnership in North Yorkshire has been fined £18,000 after a self-employed farm worker fell around 3m from a 360-excavator truck.

According to Leeds Magistrates’ Court, the 31-year-old man was working on the gable end of a barn on the farm.

He was operating from a non-integrated work platform, or ‘man-cage’, mounted on the boom of a 360-excavator vehicle.

He suffered a fractured sternum, six broken ribs, a broken bone in his back and three damaged teeth when the man-cage collapsed from the excavator’s boom, and he fell roughly three meters.

The excavator was utilized with the man-cage because the partnership considered it had superior reach and manoeuvrability for the work of fastening the gable ends to the shed facias, according to an investigation by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive).

W Gibson and Son, of Mayville Farm, Cayton, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, agreed to plead guilty to violating Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The firm was fined £18,000 with costs of £787.87.

“Excavators should not be used for lifting people under any situations,” HSE inspector Chris Tilley said after the hearing.

“They are primarily designed and developed for excavating with a bucket and, as a result, are capable of operating speeds and movements that make them unfit for lifting people.

For pre-planned operations like periodic maintenance, non-integrated work platforms should not be employed.

“This event might have been avoided so easily if the risk had been correctly assessed and appropriate work at height equipment, such as scaffolding or an integrated work platform, along with Mobile Elevated Work Platforms [MEWPs] had been used.”