Faversham farm where a bull escaped fined £12K for multiple health and safety breaches

Seymour Stevens Ltd run a beef and arable farm in Faversham in Kent
Faversham farm fined £12K for multiple health and safety breaches which put staff at risk' - this picture shows a hay bale holding down an insecure roof -Credit:HSE

A farming business in Faversham has been fined £12,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for breaches which it said put employees and other people at risk, while it tried to cut costs.

Seymour Stevens Ltd, which operates a beef and arable farm, was also ordered to pay £4,830 in costs, at a hearing at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on April 24.

During a site visit in November 2022, the agency said it found multiple, serious health and safety failings. It said it found one of the barns, used as a through route by a worker, unsafe to enter because of the poor structural state it was in.

It said Seymour Stevens was aware of this but had not repaired the barn because of the cost. Electrical faults were also identified in the barn. And in a shed, the roof was loose and was being kept in place by a hay bale.

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Roof sheeting was also in disrepair and in some cases, even falling from buildings. Bull pens were rusty and at Christmas in 2022, a bull escaped the farm and was brought back to the site by police, said the agency.

Seymour Stevens Ltd farm at Faversham
Seymour Stevens Ltd farm at Faversham -Credit:HSE

During 2022, the company did not take up an invitation to attend a paid-for “Preparing for Inspection” course. Seymour Stevens Limited pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Bruce said: “While agriculture accounts for just one per cent of the working population, it accounts for about 20 per cent of workplace fatalities."

“In the case at Seymour Stevens farm, there were failings to manage health and safety risks associated with animals and falling objects – two of the five most common causes of fatal injuries in the agriculture sector."

“Employees and members of the public were being put at risk, despite previous warnings having been given to the company by their staff."

Seymour Stevens Ltd farm at Faversham
Seymour Stevens Ltd farm at Faversham -Credit:HSE

“It is important that employers maintain their workplaces and equipment to suitable standards to ensure that employees, visitors and members of the public are not put at risk.”

KentLive has got in touch with Seymour Stevens Ltd.

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