Farmer Imprisoned After Cattle Tramples a Walker to Death
Most farm animals are fairly innocuous, but large animals like cows and horses can pose a serious risk to people. In the event of David Tinniswood, the lack of appropriate safety measures led to an irreversible, but avoidable, tragedy. It’s instances of such misfortune that show businesses don’t just have a duty of care to their workers, but to the wider public who interact with them.
On the 30th of May 2020, Tinniswood, his wife, and their two dogs were walking through a public right of way through Ivescar Farm, owned by J H Sharp & Son. The field in question contained large cattle, and their calves. The cows attacked the Tinniswoods and trampled over David – an 83-year-old male – who died at the scene. His wife also suffered significant personal injuries.
Had the farm used a different animal for this right of way field, like sheep – which are known to be more placid – the risk to walkers would have been substantially lower. In particular, the presence of young livestock posed risk. Animals of all shapes and sizes are known to be extremely protective of their offspring. Has these animals been placed in another field, Tinniswood would likely still be alive.
An HSE investigation found that Christopher Sharpe, a partner of the company that owns the farm, was responsible, and was sentenced for the lack of proper provisions that led to Tinniswood’s death. Sharpe was accused of breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, which he pleaded guilty to. Sharpe was fined £878, paid costs of £7820, was suspended from his business for 12 months, and spend 12 weeks in prison. Julian Franklin, the HSE inspector for this case, said:
“A number of measures could have been taken to safeguard walkers using the path, while cattle and calves were grazing in that field. Farmers should ensure they take all reasonably practicable precautions to protect walkers on public rights of way, especially when they are grazing cows and calves together, or bulls are present.”
Animals at Work and Their Inherent Dangers
In the period of 2018-19, eight workers were killed by animals. Whilst not the most common form of workplace accident, work in the agriculture industry is statistically the most dangerous industry for employees. Despite this industry only making up 1% of the UK’s working population, the rate of fatalities is 18 times higher than the UK average. It is clear that working in agriculture is an incredibly dangerous profession, and as such, every safety measure enforceable, as well as those of common sense, needs to be implemented.
Whilst Tinniswood was not a worker, his death is symptomatic of a negligent attitude to health and safety. It is in this absence of a duty of care that employees are put in danger, and employers become liable for compensation, and – potentially – criminal prosecution.
Have you been injured because of the actions of a business?
Whether you work for the company or not, if a company has failed in their responsibility to keep you safe, you may be eligible to claim damages. Contact our expert team of accident solicitors** today to discuss your claim for free, and get your compensation on a no win, no fee* basis. Call us on 08082391859^ to speak to our friendly team.
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