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Company ordered to pay 75,000 after farm worker is crushed to death


Farming and haulage company Pearn Wyatt & Son has been fined 21,000 with 54,000 costs after a 24-year-old agriculture worker was crushed to death on a farm in Norfolk.

Sam Foley had been using a tractor to tow manure to a field at Grange Farm, in Snetterton, on 8 July 2007. He was dumping manure out of a tipper trailer when the drawbar broke and crashed forwards through the back of the tractor, fatally crushing him in the cab. Mr Foley, who was from Newmarket in Suffolk, died at the scene.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the tipper trailer had not been adequately maintained and was not suitable for handling solid manure.

Timothy John Wyatt and Jonathan Pearn Wyatt, trading as Pearn Wyatt & Son and based at Grange Farm, Snetterton, Norfolk, appeared at Norwich Crown Court for sentencing today. They had admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at an earlier hearing.

HSE Inspector Malcolm Crowther said:

This sad death of a young man in his early 20s should never have happened. Pearn Wyatt & Son did not carry out their legal duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees – and the result was this tragic death. The trailer had not been maintained properly and was not suitable for transporting solid manure.

Farming is one of the countrys most dangerous industries with people often working on their own and in remote locations. The HSEs agriculture campaign, Make The Promise, calls on all farmers and agriculture workers to make the promise to come home safe each night. Making health and safety a priority before heading out each day is so important and takes a relatively small amount of time.

In this case, it was down to Pearn Wyatt & Son to ensure the equipment was maintained properly and safe for the farm workers to use something the company did not do. If more farmers and farming companies make the promise then hopefully we can avoid repeating tragic incidents such as this one.

1. HSE is Britain’s national regulator for workplace safety and health. It aims to reduce injuries and illness in the workplace.

2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

3. Advice and guidance for employers can be found on the HSE website:

4. Information on the Make The Promise agriculture campaign can be found at:

5. A ‘drawbar’ is a solid coupling between the vehicle and its load.

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