Beef farm fined £12k for ‘serious’ health and safety failings

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The inspection of the beef and arable farm took place in November 2022. Credit: Getty / Smederevac
The inspection of the beef and arable farm took place in November 2022. Credit: Getty / Smederevac

Related tags health & safety

A beef and arable farm in Kent has been fined £12,000 after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visit identified multiple serious health and safety breaches.

The site visit to Seymour Stevens Limited – a beef and arable farm in Faversham, Kent – was carried out in November 2022 and found several failings that placed employees and others at risk over a period of many years.

HSE reported that one of the barns used as a through route by an employee was unsafe to enter due to its poor structural state. Meanwhile, a number of electrical faults were also identified within.

Seymour Stevens Limited was aware of this and continued to allow the barn to be used, but took the decision not to repair it due to the costs.

In another shed, the roof was insecurely fixed and was being weighed down with a straw bale in an attempt to prevent it from moving. Roof sheeting was also in poor condition and state of disrepair; in some cases, even falling from buildings.

Bull pens were broken and rusty and concerns were raised about the suitability of these to contain a bull. During the Christmas period in 2022, a bull had managed to escape the farm and was brought back to site by the Police.

Earlier in the same year, the company had been invited to attend a “Preparing for Inspection” course, but didn’t take up the offer.

Seymour Stevens Limited pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. act 1974 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £4,830 in costs at a hearing at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on 24 April 2024.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Bruce commented: “While agriculture accounts for just one percent of the working population, it accounts for about 20 per cent of workplace fatalities.

“In the case at Seymour Stevens farm, there were failings to manage health and safety risks associated with animals and falling objects – two of the five most common causes of fatal injuries in the agriculture sector.

“Employees and members of the public were being put at risk, despite previous warnings having been given to the company by their staff.

“It is important that employers maintain their workplaces and equipment to suitable standards to ensure that employees, visitors and members of the public are not put at risk.”

In other news, Getir and Gorillas have confirmed their exit from the UK, putting 1,500 jobs at risk in the process.

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