Hay-making can be risky without the right training

A Lancashire farmer who was left paralysed by a falling hay bale is using his story as a warning to other farmers now that the hay-making is season is here. According to the Health and Safety Executive, eleven farm workers have died in baling incidents since this farmer had his own accident five years ago.

He was just twenty-one at the time and was helping to stack silage bales for a neighbour’s farm when the incident occurred. Neither he nor his colleagues had received health and safety training, and the job had been planned prior to commencing.

When the telehandler bale grab cracked as a bale was being placed at the top of the stack, the farmer got out to investigate the problem. The one-tonne bale fell six metres, landing on the farmer and breaking his back and his jaw, and severing the main artery in his leg.

Although the injuries were life-threatening, the farmer did not lose his life; he did, however, lose one leg which had to be amputated. He has also been left permanently paralysed from the waist down.

Proper training and planning can make all the difference in reducing the risks involved in such activities, and the HSE and this farmer are trying to raise awareness of the issues as other farmers will be undertaking the same potentially dangerous tasks.