Dairy firm told to pay £12,500 after head injury

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Occupational safety and health, Market drayton

United Milking Systems failed to access the risks
United Milking Systems failed to access the risks
A Shropshire dairy company has been ordered to pay £12,500 after a worker suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a steel beam at a Derbyshire farm – on his second day at work.

The 49-year old worker, who asked not to be named, was employed by United Milking Systems. The accident happened when he helped an experienced engineer install a milking parlour at Brookley Meadows Farm, Thurvaston, Derbyshire, on July 5 2011.

Derby Magistrates heard that both men were installing four 80kg steel beams at a height of about 2m. The workers tried to install one beam 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.

Struck the worker’s head

The accident happened after the engineer had rested one end of the beam on the wall bracket. They were lifting it on to the opposite bracket when it slipped. As one end of the beam hit the floor the vibration caused the engineer on the stepladder to lose his grip on the beam and it struck the new worker’s head.

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

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed it could have been prevented if the firm had used suitable lifting equipment.

Failed to assess the risks

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Edward Walker said: "This was an incident waiting to happen owing to a series of failures by United Milking Systems. The company 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."

United Milking Systems, of Tern Hill, Market Drayton, Shropshire, admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The firm was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

HSE advice about manual handling and lifting is available here​.


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