Blog - Accidents at Work

Farm Worker Injured Hand in Potato Crusher

A farm worker injured their hand in an accident involving a potato crusher.

The unnamed 25 year old was working at Waterloo Farm in Sleaford at the time of the incident in June 2009. He was employed as a casual worker tasked with helping with the harvest of potatoes.

The potato harvester being used on the farm had been fitted with a potato crusher designed and built by Grimme (UK) Ltd. As the men were using this crusher it repeatedly became blocked with stones.

To clear the blockage, the farm workers signalled to the harvester driver to stop and isolate power to the machine. When the power was isolated, one of the workers would reach inside the crusher to get the stones out.

The accident happened during one of these blockages. The injured man signalled to the driver who subsequently stopped. However, he had stopped for a different reason and not seen the signal. As a result the power to the crusher had not been isolated, and when the man reached inside, part of the machinery severed three tendons in his right hand.

Recently, the farmer – Timothy Dean – and the company that supplied the crusher have been in court in regards to the accident. After an HSE investigation, Mr Dean was found to have not risk assessed the work, or setup a safe work system. He was fined £20,000 for breaking the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Grimme (UK) Ltd were also fined for breaking health and safety regulations. The crusher had been supplied with no safety guard or manual. They were fined £16,000, and have since modified the crusher.

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