Man sentenced after death of retired farmer

Released 3rd July 2017

A contractor has been sentenced after a man who hired him was killed by a piece of barbed wire that shot out of his hedge cutting machine.

On 13 February 2015 Adrian Pickett was hedge cutting for James Headland, a retired farmer, when the wire ejected out the machine and struck him in the neck. The 73-year-old later died as a result of his injuries.

Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Pickett had been contracted to do the work for the land owner at Headland’s Farm and was using his own machinery which included a rotary flail hedge cutter.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Pickett failed to ensure his own safety and that of others by following a safe system of work. His maintenance of the equipment and correct use of guards for this work activity were also at fault.

Adrian Pickett of Canopus farm, Frith Bank, Boston pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to 80 hours of community service ordered to pay £6558.38 in costs.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Sam Russell said: “Mr Pickett contributed to the circumstances of this tragic death by not taking the correct precautions. He could have reduced the risk significantly by using the correct guarding and safe system of work for activity of cutting hedges.”

Joan Headland, who was married to James Headland for 45 years said: “Since my husband left the house that Friday morning I have never seen him again. James was my husband, my friend and a great father to my children. He had been a very proud grandfather for only five weeks. We have shed a few tears and there will be more tears to shed as time goes by.”