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Milking firm in court after worker injured at Derbyshire farm

A Shropshire milking company has been fined after a worker suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a steel beam at a Derbyshire farm.

The employee was asked to help an experienced engineer install a milking parlour on his second day at work.

Derby Magistrates were told that part of the work involved installing four 80kg steel beams at a height of around two metres. The two men tried to install one of them by having one person hold it over his head while the second climbed a stepladder, took the beam from the first person and placed it on to a wall bracket.

The engineer had rested one end of the beam on the wall bracket and they were lifting it on to the opposite bracket when it slipped. As one end hit the floor the vibration caused the engineer on the stepladder to lose his grip on the beam and it landed on the new employee’s head.

He suffered a fractured skull and lacerations and was off work for six weeks.

An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found it could have been prevented had the company used suitable lifting equipment.

After the hearing HSE inspector Edward Walker said:”This was an incident waiting to happen owing to a series of failures by the company, which failed to plan the work properly and failed to assess the risks associated with the task, such as manual handling or falling objects.

“As a consequence, they didn’t take any steps to reduce the risks through providing appropriate equipment and training. As a result a worker who was only on his second day with the firm suffered a painful head injury that left him unable to work for six weeks.”