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Death of Herdsman Could Have Been Avoided
Posted by David Cant on January 2, 2013

An employer from Whitstone has been prosecuted by the health and Safety Executive after a herdsman fell to his death at a dairy in October 2010.  Sixty five year old William Luscombe was working on the dairy roof when he fell through a skylight made from plastic. After an investigation there were found to be multiple issues concerning the health and safety of the work being carried out, and therefore the employers, TRD Griffin and Son Partnership were fined.

No Training was provided to the Herdsman Before he Worked on the Roof

The case was heard at Exeter Crown Court on December 18. The details of the job were described, informing the court about the dangerous situations and circumstances that led to the sad death of Mr Luscombe.  It was discovered that Mr Luscombe carried out the work on the roof even though it was not planned and there was no supervision in place. He had been lifted onto the roof by standing in the bucket of a telehandler. While working, he fell to the floor below after smashing through the fragile skylight, known for being unsuitable to stand on.

Mr Luscombe suffered serious head injuries and was airlifted to Derriford Hospital, but he died from his injuries. He was an experience herdsman who should never have been on the roof. He had no training for the work he was carrying out, there wasn’t any suitable equipment that could have prevented the accident and he was not supervised.  Despite the fact that the farm did have crawling boards on the site they were still not used. Even if they had been they were very narrow and still not suitable and wouldn’t have given suitable access to the roof. The use of the telehandler was also not a suitable method for getting on top of the roof.

£5,000 Fine for Dairy

The firm were fined £5,000 and must pay £8,800 in court costs. The HSE inspector, Georgina Speake spoke after the case reminding firms about the risks involved with working on roofs. All workers that are carrying out work on roofs must be properly trained.  The job has to be planned out to ensure all the risks are known and appropriate safety measures are put into place. This must involve suitable protective gear and preventative equipment such as nets and boarding.

Health and safety services can provide you and your managers with excellent training that’s affordable and can save lives. There are also a number of services such as audits that will draw your attention to risks and inadequacies in your procedures and policy. Contact the health and safety consultants by calling: 0800 1488 677 and speak to the experts to find the ideal options for you and your business.


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

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