Fri, 30 Jan 2015
On 29th January 2015 Adam Farrer acted for a Dairy Farm Company and a Director of the Company in a HSE prosecution before Stafford Crown Court, Tim Pole, No5 Chambers acted for the HSE. The Company and Director (section 37 HSWA prosecution) had on an earlier occasion pleaded guilty to Health and Safety offences of failing to ensure the safety of employees and failing to have a suitable risk assessment. The case concerned a fatal accident in July 2012 in which a 75-year-old farm worker was killed by a bull at the Dairy Farm. The system of work permitted employees to work within the enclosure with the bull and dairy cows. The bull attacked the employee, causing injuries from which he later died.
There had been an earlier incident at the Farm in March 2009 in which a bull butted another employee causing a broken pelvis. The prosecution case was this was a warning of the unsafe system of permitting employees to work in close proximity to a bull.
HHJ Eades observed that both defendants fell far below a safe standard and that it was clearly dangerous for employees to work in close proximity to a bull. However, it was accepted that the offences arose out of complacency in relation to the risks posed by bulls as opposed to deliberate risk taking or blatant disregard for safety. In the case of the Director HHJ Eades remarked that the offences, due to the fatality and the previous incident, past the custody threshold. The Company (£1.6 million turnover) was fined £140,000, plus £19,500 costs and the Director was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, plus £10,000 costs.