Cumbria

Cumwhinton farm fined £100,000 over worker's tractor death

John Wood outside Carlisle Crown Court Image copyright Craig McGlasson
Image caption John Wood represented the partnership in court

A farm has been fined £100,000 after a worker died when he was hit by a tractor.

Labourer Stephen Toppin, 57 of Penrith, suffered fatal head injuries at Wragmire Bank, near Cumwhinton, Carlisle, in January last year.

At Carlisle Crown Court, JS Wood and Son admitted a health and safety breach.

The court heard the teenage tractor driver was "not in any way at fault" for Mr Toppin's death.

The partnership accepted failing to ensure the workplace "was organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner".

Mr Toppin, whose main job was to rear calves, stepped out of a livestock shed into the path of the tractor, which was towing a straw-laden trailer as it travelled through a narrow passageway which ran between buildings on the dairy farm.

'Incredibly distressed'

Prosecutor David Temkin told the court: "The defendant hadn't undertaken any - or any proper - workplace transport risk assessment."

The court heard had such an assessment been done, it would have identified the calf shed exits led directly into the main traffic route.

It would also have taken into account Mr Toppin being 70 per cent deaf and that he wore a hearing aid, Mr Temkin said.

JS Wood and Son had since "entirely" complied with improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive, introducing speed limits and warning signs, the court was told.

It had also "gone beyond" its obligations by creating a pedestrian walkway.

The partnership was represented by John Wood, 63, who was said to remain "incredibly distressed" by the tragedy.

It was also ordered to pay £7,310 costs.

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