Devon firm Dullam & Co. (Farmers) has been fined today after a worker was dragged into a reed threshing machine.

Exeter Magistrate’s Court heard that on March 24, 2017, 44-year-old John Dullam was working on the reed combing machine at Narracott Farm, South Molton, when his overalls became entangled in the combine's drum feed intake.

Following a blockage, Dullam had climbed up and over the top of the comber and stepped down onto the platform where the drum feeding mouth was located.

The machine re-started causing his protruding coveralls to become entangled in the drum belt and he was drawn into the reed combing machine feet first.

His legs were pulled into the machine and became trapped. He suffered serious injuries as a result of the incident. Dullam and his father, both from Bishops Nympton are co-directors of the company.


An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the drum belt feeding the mouth of the comber lacked effective guarding, preventing any person coming into contact with the drum.

The firm, which is based in Bishops Nympton, South Molton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equip Regs 1998, and have been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000 with a victim surcharge of £120.

Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive inspector Paul Mannell said “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures for machinery guarding and safe working practices.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”