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Bale death accident at work

14th May 2014
The family of a man who was crushed by a bale of straw could make a work compensation claim after the company responsible was handed a large fine.

EPR Ely was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £30,735 in costs at Cambridge magistrates' court for its role in the incident, after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a number of failings regarding the movement of the 700kg bales.

The victim had been working as a driver and was delivering the straw to Elean power station in Sutton – the world's largest straw-burning energy facility in the world. Whilst unloading the bales, one toppled from a crane on top of him and despite the efforts of colleagues to move the straw from on top of him, the 53-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following the trial, HSE inspector Gavin Bull noted that accidents at work like this are "entirely preventable", adding that it is "tragic" that the victim died in this manner.

He continued, "companies need to make sure that they do not put drivers at risk from unsafe loading procedures. They should have systems of work in place keep drivers or other workers away from places that might be unsafe. If necessary they should use a banksman to assist the driver, or have other equipment such as effective CCTV to make loading operations safe."

The HSE recognises that these areas can be very dangerous, so is proactive when it comes to preventing warehouse accidents at work, especially when they involve drivers and machinery being in close proximity, as is the case in this incident. To avoid warehouse injury and death, organisations need to make sure that pedestrians are kept separate from cranes and other loading devices to minimise the risk of similar accidents to this one happening again.

Crush injuries don't always end in death, and one factory working from Kendal has won his work compensation claim after having his hand crushed.

Wayne Miller has been awarded £300,000 after being left permanently disabled due to his sleeve becoming caught in a machine at paper manufacturer James Cropper and being dragged between the rollers.

The accident at work left Wayne with friction burns which ripped nerves from his wrist, which required reconstructive surgery and skin grafts.

Reported by Fiona Campbell