Farm worker from Kirkbymoorside died after hay stack collapsed as he performed routine task

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A MAN was killed by falling bales of straw as he performed a routine farm task, an inquest heard.

Stephen Wilson, 49, of Cote Hill Farm, near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, died on November 27, 2013, from subdural haemorrhage and a fractured skull at nearby Bitcha Green Farm.

The jury inquest held at Northallerton’s County Hall was told that Mr Wilson had not been seen since about 4pm, when he told his father Dennis Wilson he was going to bed down some cattle in Bitcha Green Farm.

Mr Wilson told coroner Michael Oakley his son worked with him across three different farms and had been a farmer since he left school.

He said: “I had not seen him since 4pm so I went to Bitcha Green Farm to look for him but he was not where I thought he would have been by then.

“He was using straw that was in giant rectangular bales and stacked up in the end of the barn and taking out chunks from the top.”

He found his son, who was unresponsive, underneath four bales of straw in the barn.

Mr Wilson believed his son would have been able to stand on lower bales, which were only two bales high, to get to bales stacked up to seven high.

Health and Safety Executive inspector John Micklethwaite said he believed there could have been instability within the structure.

He said: “They were big bales of around nine feet wide and long, weighing about half a ton.

“But I can’t say whether he was working from the floor or on the two-bale high second stack, and I can’t say if it was his action that caused the collapse.”

The jury concluded Mr Wilson died as a result as an accident.

Comments (1)

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10:02pm Tue 22 Apr 14

RShire says...

I've heard of several accidents of this type, involving large bails. My brother's friend was paralysed in a similar incident. The thing is when small bails were used they were stacked in a different way which created more stability. Nowadays its done by machine and there isn't any overlap between layers and so the whole stack is much less stable and of course the bails are much heavier. Why is farming so far behind with health and safety, that new systems create increased risk of harm, instead of reducing it? This isn't helped by verdicts of accidental death either. I can predict that incidents like this will occur in the future, which means that they are not accidents, because we know they will happen. Just wait there will be another report in the Northern Echo before too long and I will take no pleasure in saying I told you so.
I don't want to see people being fined or blamed for these accidents I want them to be prevented.
I've heard of several accidents of this type, involving large bails. My brother's friend was paralysed in a similar incident. The thing is when small bails were used they were stacked in a different way which created more stability. Nowadays its done by machine and there isn't any overlap between layers and so the whole stack is much less stable and of course the bails are much heavier. Why is farming so far behind with health and safety, that new systems create increased risk of harm, instead of reducing it? This isn't helped by verdicts of accidental death either. I can predict that incidents like this will occur in the future, which means that they are not accidents, because we know they will happen. Just wait there will be another report in the Northern Echo before too long and I will take no pleasure in saying I told you so. I don't want to see people being fined or blamed for these accidents I want them to be prevented. RShire
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