Shropshire Star

Stud farmer is fined over bale collapse

A horse breeder has been ordered to pay more than £20,000 in fines and court costs after a student suffered life changing injuries when four straw bales fell on top of her.

Shrewsbury Magistrates Court

Emily Dawson, a veterinary student from Cheshire, was working her final day of a work placement at RL Matson & Son stud farm on the outskirts of Whitchurch when four 1.2 ton bales toppled on her. She suffered severe leg and pelvic injuries and had to spend three months in a wheelchair as part of her rehabilitation.

The farm's partner Edward Matson was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £10,144 in prosecution costs after it was deemed the accident was preventable during a hearing at Shrewsbury Magistrates Court yesterday.

Matson pleaded guilty to one count of breaching the Work at Height Regulations Act.

The court heard Miss Dawson, who was 20 when the accident happened in August 2012, went to collect straw from a five-and-a-half metre stack.

But one bale fell on her back, two on her right foot and one on her left foot.

Health and Safety Executive Inspector Dr Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts told the court

"The stack maintenance of the bales could not have been adequate because the bales were so unstable four fell without warning."

Afterwards, Matson said: "Throughout this whole process my thoughts have always been with Emily and her family. I am deeply sorry for the injuries she received."

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