A farmer’s wife, whose leg was permanently injured when she fell down a hole at a ‘safety awareness day’ for agricultural workers, has received £25,000 in compensation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Tania Foster was attending the health and safety workshop on how to avoid farm accidents. She was amongst a group of people who were in conversation with an HSE inspector, en route to a demonstration on the safe use of ladders, when she fell into an uncovered drain.
Mrs Foster suffered injuries to her metatarsal and Achilles tendons. She now has to wear a permanent ankle brace and remains on painkillers.
After the accident, Mrs Foster was angry at the attitude of the HSE’s lawyers, who told her that the incident had been her own fault. She said that she would have been happy with a bunch of flowers and an apology but instead decided to bring the case to court.
The HSE pointed out that it had carried out a risk assessment of the farm where the event was held and the site had been visited three times by a Health and Safety Awareness Officer. It did not consider it necessary to cover the drainage hole since it is a common feature on farms and the event was aimed at farm workers.
In spite of this, the HSE eventually agreed an out of court settlement shortly before the case was due to come to court. Although it did not admit liability for the accident, it agreed to pay Mrs Foster £25,000 in compensation and the same amount in legal costs.