A leading horse trainer has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after an employee fell through a stable blocks skylight.
Paul Cussons, of Burrill, was working at Thorndale Farm near Richmond, when he was asked by his employer horse trainer Alan Swinbank, to cut down some branches which were overhanging a stable block due for renovation.
Northallerton Magistrates’ Court was told that Mr. Cussons had climbed on top of the stable block and was using a chainsaw to saw through the branches, when he slipped and plunged through a skylight landing on the concrete floor below.
Mr. Cussons suffered serious personal injury in the fall, breaking both shoulder blades, fracturing a rib and puncturing his lung. His injuries were so severe that he has not been able to return to work since the accident.
An investigation by the HSE revealed that the employee had been using a chainsaw on the farm for many years but had never received any formal training, nor had he been trained to work at height in a safe manner.
Alan Swinbank, of Thorndale Farm, in Melsonby, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay court costs totalling £6,048, after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.