Man from York died after getting his head trapped between hydraulic tailgate door and edge of trailer

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Richmond)

A FARM worker died after suffering a fractured skull when his head was crushed between the edge of a trailer and its tailgate, an inquest heard.

Christopher Barry Parker's death at Foulrice Rarm in Brandsby, near Easingwold, North Yorkshire, was an accident, the inquest ruled today (Tuesday, April 22).

The jury inquest at Northallerton’s County Hall heard that Mr Parker, known as Barry, who worked as a farm labourer for Stuart Beaumont, had been unfamiliar with the hydraulic trailer and was likely to have been hit by the falling tailgate when he reached to pick up a shovel.

Mr Beaumont told the jury Mr Parker, 55, had worked with him for about eight years when he accompanied him to collect eight tons of sheep nuts on January 3.

He said: “We left the pellets over the weekend and on Tuesday, January 7, we planned to put it into half-ton bags.

“I was using a borrowed trailer because mine was damaged but I had been shown how to work the hydraulic system – I always have a run though with machinery I am not familiar with.”

Mr Beaumont told the inquest he and Mr Parker positioned the tractor and trailer so they could tip up the trailer and allow sheep nuts to fall down a shoot into bags, controlled by a lever.

Mr Parker, from Dalby Terrace, Skewsby, had been using a brush and shovel to get remaining pellets out of the trailer, and slid out of the tailgate after asking Mr Beaumont to open it for him.

Mr Beaumont remained in the tractor but said he could see Mr Parker close to the trailer, who shouted at him to close the tailgate again.

But when the tailgate shut Mr Beaumont saw that he was underneath the back of the trailer and trapped in the door.

Traffic Constable David Foster of North Yorkshire Police said a reconstruction of the incident suggested that Mr Parker had bent down quickly to pick up a shovel that was on the ground next to him but misjudged the speed at which the trailer door would fall.

He said: “The hydraulic door was very quiet and closed in four seconds.

“It’s very likely he bent down to get the shovel and when raising his head became trapped in the rapidly closing tailgate.”

The jury concluded Mr Parker died as a result of an accident.

Comments (8)

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8:02am Wed 23 Apr 14

jps101 says...

Machinery that is capable of killing or injuring people should be immediately taken out of service and not used again until its modified so it can be used safely.
I can't see anything in the article that says this trailer design has been recalled by the manufacturer the way other types of vehicles have to be that are found to be unsafe.
so they've concluded it was just an accident, what's been done to prevent it happening again?
Farming machinery has a history of being extremely dangerous to its users its about time health and safety got a grip in this area.
Machinery that is capable of killing or injuring people should be immediately taken out of service and not used again until its modified so it can be used safely. I can't see anything in the article that says this trailer design has been recalled by the manufacturer the way other types of vehicles have to be that are found to be unsafe. so they've concluded it was just an accident, what's been done to prevent it happening again? Farming machinery has a history of being extremely dangerous to its users its about time health and safety got a grip in this area. jps101
  • Score: 2

8:51am Wed 23 Apr 14

hippyjohn says...

anyone who can accidentally put his head in a closing door must accept lack of judgement
anyone who can accidentally put his head in a closing door must accept lack of judgement hippyjohn
  • Score: -14

9:58am Wed 23 Apr 14

jps101 says...

I work in manufacturing, machinery is designed with guards and interlocks so you can't accidently put your limbs into harms way.

Humans make errors of judgement, its human nature, who can say they've never been distracted or not been focussed on what they've been doing at one time or another? on the other hand manufacturers of dangerous machinery have time to consider where something maybe unsafe right from the design stage and should do so.

Automatic doors, car windows etc are designed to stop when they encounter resistance, this hydraulic door should have a guard, interlock or photocell eye, or some other safety device fitted and all operators should be trained not just the man sat on the tractor out of harms way.
I work in manufacturing, machinery is designed with guards and interlocks so you can't accidently put your limbs into harms way. Humans make errors of judgement, its human nature, who can say they've never been distracted or not been focussed on what they've been doing at one time or another? on the other hand manufacturers of dangerous machinery have time to consider where something maybe unsafe right from the design stage and should do so. Automatic doors, car windows etc are designed to stop when they encounter resistance, this hydraulic door should have a guard, interlock or photocell eye, or some other safety device fitted and all operators should be trained not just the man sat on the tractor out of harms way. jps101
  • Score: 5

12:45pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Davy Crocket says...

It is a dangerous machine because it killed a man. Human error can be minimised with good safety features and this machine needs to be modified. Sadly he is not here to tell us if the driver made an error or if he was being put under time pressure.
It is a dangerous machine because it killed a man. Human error can be minimised with good safety features and this machine needs to be modified. Sadly he is not here to tell us if the driver made an error or if he was being put under time pressure. Davy Crocket
  • Score: 0

6:36pm Wed 23 Apr 14

yorkshirelad90 says...

jps101... if every machine capable of killing a man was withdrawn from service, there would be no machines operating anywhere!

Not everything can be made safe unfortunately. As much as i feel sorry for everyone involved, there are just some places that people should not be.

Forklift trucks, telehandlers etc for example...there is nothing to stop forks from lowering. You just shouldn't go underneath one. Tipping trailers, the list is endless.
jps101... if every machine capable of killing a man was withdrawn from service, there would be no machines operating anywhere! Not everything can be made safe unfortunately. As much as i feel sorry for everyone involved, there are just some places that people should not be. Forklift trucks, telehandlers etc for example...there is nothing to stop forks from lowering. You just shouldn't go underneath one. Tipping trailers, the list is endless. yorkshirelad90
  • Score: 3

10:36pm Wed 23 Apr 14

jps101 says...

I can think of one operating procedure and two modifications straight away.
Op Proc.
This Trailer must only be Operated by a responsible person trained to use it and fully understands the dangers associated with its use.
At all times he/she must have clear sight of all persons working in the vicinity, if at any time any person goes out of sight of the operating person, the operation of the hydraulic system must immediately stop until such time the operator can see said persons again.

Safety Modification 1. Emergency lock and twist to release stop buttons to be fitted adjacent the moving tailgate.
Safety Modification 2. The operating lever for the hydraulics to be repositioned off the Tractor and onto the Trailer next to the Door it operates, so whoever is operating it has a clear view of the Door being powered.

The second modification I would think would just entail a hand lever valve being moved to the different position on the hydraulic pipe which must run to the door on the back of the trailer.

Obviously these cost money, but who much is a persons life worth?
I only have the information in the Echo news article so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that some measures have been decided to be taken to prevent someone else getting hurt, and its just not mentioned in the article.
I can think of one operating procedure and two modifications straight away. Op Proc. This Trailer must only be Operated by a responsible person trained to use it and fully understands the dangers associated with its use. At all times he/she must have clear sight of all persons working in the vicinity, if at any time any person goes out of sight of the operating person, the operation of the hydraulic system must immediately stop until such time the operator can see said persons again. Safety Modification 1. Emergency lock and twist to release stop buttons to be fitted adjacent the moving tailgate. Safety Modification 2. The operating lever for the hydraulics to be repositioned off the Tractor and onto the Trailer next to the Door it operates, so whoever is operating it has a clear view of the Door being powered. The second modification I would think would just entail a hand lever valve being moved to the different position on the hydraulic pipe which must run to the door on the back of the trailer. Obviously these cost money, but who much is a persons life worth? I only have the information in the Echo news article so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that some measures have been decided to be taken to prevent someone else getting hurt, and its just not mentioned in the article. jps101
  • Score: 2

11:48am Thu 24 Apr 14

jp1000 says...

Hi hippyjohn, that's kind of an idiotic statement to make considering you don't know the facts. The trailer used doesn't have doors that lift up n down like a sliding door so your analogy of someone sticking their head in a door is pretty ridiculous. The door lifts vertically but in a sort of semi circular motion from the top so the door comes down from behind a person's head. One thing which wasn't made clear at the inquest was that door was only partially open so it actually only took 1.5 seconds to close. It was also silent and the tractor engine was running. How many times have we trapped fingers in car doors but a split second decision often overrides logic. Barry (it appears) had misjudged the time he had to pick up the shovel and his unfamiliarity with the trailer plus the silence and speed of the door led to him being caught by the rapidly closing door. 1.5 seconds that you didn't realise that that was all you had is no time at all. Jps101 you seem to know what you're taking about and I agree there should have been some kind of safety mechanism that wouldn't allow a limb or head to be trapped like that, but it will probably never happen. Farming is full of accidents like Barry's and because they are small businesses they fall through the regulations net. Stuart is a good man and did look after his equipment but I know that in farming that isn't always the case. The HSE although much maligned for stupid rulings (& there are a lot!) is there for a purpose and there simply aren't enough inspectors to keep everyone safe. Oh & by the way hippyjohn, the idiot who was daft enough to stick his head in a door & deserved what he got? (Paraphrasing here), that was my husband.
Hi hippyjohn, that's kind of an idiotic statement to make considering you don't know the facts. The trailer used doesn't have doors that lift up n down like a sliding door so your analogy of someone sticking their head in a door is pretty ridiculous. The door lifts vertically but in a sort of semi circular motion from the top so the door comes down from behind a person's head. One thing which wasn't made clear at the inquest was that door was only partially open so it actually only took 1.5 seconds to close. It was also silent and the tractor engine was running. How many times have we trapped fingers in car doors but a split second decision often overrides logic. Barry (it appears) had misjudged the time he had to pick up the shovel and his unfamiliarity with the trailer plus the silence and speed of the door led to him being caught by the rapidly closing door. 1.5 seconds that you didn't realise that that was all you had is no time at all. Jps101 you seem to know what you're taking about and I agree there should have been some kind of safety mechanism that wouldn't allow a limb or head to be trapped like that, but it will probably never happen. Farming is full of accidents like Barry's and because they are small businesses they fall through the regulations net. Stuart is a good man and did look after his equipment but I know that in farming that isn't always the case. The HSE although much maligned for stupid rulings (& there are a lot!) is there for a purpose and there simply aren't enough inspectors to keep everyone safe. Oh & by the way hippyjohn, the idiot who was daft enough to stick his head in a door & deserved what he got? (Paraphrasing here), that was my husband. jp1000
  • Score: 1

12:25pm Thu 24 Apr 14

jps101 says...

Hello jp1000 very sorry for your loss.
You know manufacturing used to be in the same state as agriculture years ago with very poor safety standards and although not perfect they've improved leaps and bounds, but only because people refused to stand for it.
I've heard of young girls getting their hair caught in spinning looms and actually apologising as if it was their fault!
My company says "All accidents are preventable" personally with human error and not being able to predict into the future I'm a bit sceptical, but its a commendable stance to take and proves commitment to safety.

Some day agriculture will be brought into line with other industries and these instances will be eradicated.
best regards
Hello jp1000 very sorry for your loss. You know manufacturing used to be in the same state as agriculture years ago with very poor safety standards and although not perfect they've improved leaps and bounds, but only because people refused to stand for it. I've heard of young girls getting their hair caught in spinning looms and actually apologising as if it was their fault! My company says "All accidents are preventable" personally with human error and not being able to predict into the future I'm a bit sceptical, but its a commendable stance to take and proves commitment to safety. Some day agriculture will be brought into line with other industries and these instances will be eradicated. best regards jps101
  • Score: 1

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