Firm admits culpability for farming tragedy
A company in Truro, Cornwall has pleaded guilty to health and safety failings that could have led to the death of a young worker.
Konrad Mariusz Miskiewicz, 24, was among four farmworkers who were working from a vehicle being pulled along by a tractor. As the vehicle travelled across fields located close to Kergilliack, Falmouth, the potato harvesting machine cut through a cable, sending 6,300 volts through the machinery and vehicle.
The incident, which occurred in 2011, was seen by witnesses who saw the huge rubber tyre of the machine burst into flames as the volts hit it. They also saw clouds of smoke and sparks.
Pengelly Farms Limited attended Truro Magistrates Court, where the company pleaded guilty to charges against it. The company was accused of not protecting workers from harm from the overhead power cables or machinery while working on the farm during the potato harvest.
At the inquest, which was held during May this year, the court heard that the Polish worker had either stepped clear of the machine or had fallen off, which may have led to his death. Other workers who remained on the machine survived. The inquest heard that Miskiewicz probably died immediately due to the electric shock. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
If all companies put safety measures in place to avoid risks and maintain the health and safety of their workers, including the use of PPE where necessary, it could only help the number of tragedies like this to fall significantly.