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Dangers on the Farm – Employee Fined after Accident
Posted by David Cant on May 3, 2012

Working in agriculture comes with high health and safety risks. Quad bikes are often used to cover large areas of land in short time periods, much faster than tractors, but they come with dangers. Over tipping is easy especially on bumpy terrain when moving at speed. When a worker in Church Broughton was seriously injured at work on a quad the employee found himself a subject of a HSE investigation, and the case can be learnt from.

Serious Accident Left Man in Intensive Care

The unnamed 42 year old was driving on a quad at Lodge Hill Farm in June 2010. His employers were JD and SD Spalton. After his accident the employee was taken to hospital in a helicopter and he suffered multiple serious wounds including a damaged liver, stomach wounds, a broken jaw and he lost his right eye.  The employee spent over two weeks in intensive care but miraculously he has been able to return to work, although he is unable to perform all of his previous duties.

After the incident the Health and Safety Executive investigated and they found that the quad being used was in poor condition. There were defeats to the steering, the brakes and the tyres. The tyres were found to be overinflated despite there being clear signs on the vehicle stating the recommendations regarding the tyres.  The employee was not given a helmet, and the inspectors deduced that had he been given such vital safety equipment the injuries to the man’s face would not have been so extensive. The partner of JD and SD Spalton, David Spalton, was therefore prosecuted and ordered to attend a court hearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court.

Fines for Employer

At the hearing Mr Spalton was fined for not providing a helmet and for failing to maintain the quad bike. He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs for breaching one of the regulations of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.  He also broke one of the regulations of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

After the hearing a HSE inspector said that the injuries that were sustained by the employee could have been easily prevented.  There are over 1000 serious injuries and two deaths each year caused by quad accidents therefore equipment needs to be well-maintained and safety clothing and helmets provided.

Checks Are Vital

If you own a quad or all-terrain vehicle you must ensure you carry out frequent checks and maintenance to help prevent accidents from occurring. In this case the bike was found to have had some home-made repairs which included the use of bolts and glue, which is clearly unacceptable. Any problems should be carried out by a qualified and competent person.

Never Leave Health and Safety to Chance

The health and safety consultants help those working in agriculture to understand the laws and work on reducing the risks found in the industry. You can request advice and an audit to help highlight those areas which are not quite up to standard or being dealt with responsibly. There are many excellent health and safety services available, so call 0800 1488 677 today and stop accidents in their tracks.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety, Workplace Safety


  1. May 22, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Safety first! As employer, employees’ health and safety must be observed. Hope that this story will be an eye opener to some employers that neglects this employees’ vital need.

  2. thabiso
    November 2, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I think Mr Spalton was fined for exposing the employees to unsafe working conditions. By not providing a helmet and for failing to maintain the quad bike, he also broke IOSH’s rules&regulations that bothers on PPE for employers.

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