The family of a farm employee who passed away in a fatal accident at work could seek compensation on his behalf.
Thomas Phizacklea died at the age of 34 during an incident at Aurora Park Farm in Scales, near Ulverston in Cumbria in July 2009.
Mr Phizacklea's body was found under the wheel of a tractor and although the exact circumstances that led to his death remain unknown, an investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that his boss had been negligent.
During a case heard at Barrow Crown Court, the HSE stated that the 27-year-old vehicle was in poor condition, as professionals had encountered problems when trying to start it in the past and its handbrake was defective.
The HSE indicated that the most likely explanation for the man's fatal injuries was that he had left the tractor running and in neutral gear without the handbrake on after getting out of the vehicle to walk around it.
Subsequently, the tractor is likely to have rolled forwards and trapped him.
Co-owner of the farm Stuart Webster admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for his failure to make sure the vehicle was in good working order.
Mr Webster was therefore fined a total of £20,000 for his negligence and could therefore face civil legal action from Mr Phizacklea's bereaved family.
Following the conclusion of the case, his widow Laura - who was ten weeks pregnant when her husband died - said she still feels "anger and guilt" about the accident.
"I miss him loads. I sometimes think that if only I'd had a job and gone out to work and Tom had looked after the children, he would still be here. He was a kind and gentle man with a soft nature," she added.
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Posted by Chris Stevenson