£16,000 fine for pig farm after worker crushed

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A FARM worker has told how he “doesn’t have a life any more” after being left disabled by two straw bales that fell on him, crushing him as he tried to remove them from a seven-metre stack at a farm in North Yorkshire.

Paul Teale, 40, from Easingwold, suffered multiple fractures of his spine and ribs after being hit by the bales at Pilmoor Grange Farm, in November 2012.

Mr Teale, who had been working alone and in the dark at the end of the day, had to drag himself yards across the farm to summon help on his mobile phone.

Driffield-based Pockmor Ltd, which operates the pig farming business at the rented site, was fined £16,000 at York Crown Court yesterday and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a breach of health and safety legislation.

After the accident Mr Teale, who also worked as a bricklayer, needed to have a spinal cage inserted and had to undergo several operations.

He subsequently suffered a series of minor heart attacks. He is now 40 per cent disabled and unable to return to work.

In a victim impact statement, he said: “Physically, the accident has totally destroyed me. I am currently the best I will ever be and the doctors have said I could still be paralysed at any time in my life by any kind of impact injury.

“I am in pain 24/7 and will be on painkillers for the rest of my life.

“My home and social life have been severely affected.

“I used to go mountain biking and running but can’t any more in case I fall and cause an impact injury. I do not have a life any more, it is just an existence. I cannot stand for long periods. I cannot do physical work. I cannot do farm work, which was the love of my life, or my brickyard job.”

An investigation by the HSE found the system of work used by Mr Teale and others for lifting bales down with the loader – which didn’t have a protective cage – was “inherently unsafe”.

Inspector Geoff Fletcher said it was “a preventable incident that has had a permanent life-changing impact on a previously fit and hard-working man, with the consequent devastating effects on his wife, son and wider family”.