Pembrokeshire farm worker killed 'as he tried to climb between tractors'

The scene of the tragedy. PICTURE: Hereford Times.

The scene of the tragedy. PICTURE: Hereford Times.

First published in News
Last updated

A FORMER Pembrokeshire farm worker died after falling beneath machinery as he tried to climb onto a colleague’s tractor, an inquest heard last week.

Geraint Rees, 40, described by coroner for Herefordshire Mark Bricknell as a "jovial and very well-liked character" had been working and living at Court Farm, Hampton Bishop, Herefordshire.

Mr Rees, originally from Llanrhian, had been ploughing a field at the farm on the day of his death on October 31 2013.

The inquest was told that a colleague, Neville Rogers, was following behind Mr Rees on a tractor which was attached to a combination drill for seeding.

After eating together in Mr Rogers' vehicle, Mr Rees had returned to his own tractor.

But when Mr Rogers looked around shortly after, he saw what he thought was an animal that had been run over.

It was only when he jumped out of the tractor and on to Mr Rees’ wellies that he realised his friend had been killed. The incident happened at around 8.30pm.

Just the day before, Mr Rees had jumped onto Mr Rogers' tractor and had already been warned of the dangers.

The ground was “incredibly uneven”, Mr Rogers said, and it had been pitch black with rain spitting on the evening of the accident.

D.I Martyn Barnes, who conducted the investigation, said that it was "impossible" to deliver a conclusive explanation.

However, the only logical explanation was that Mr Rees had slipped while attempting to mount his colleague's tractor.

It was possible he had fallen into the gap between the front wheel and steps or tripped on uneven ground and fell beneath the tractor.

His body would then have been caught under the drill.

Vehicle examiner, Robert Beales, said there was no contributory mechanical defects and the vehicle was in a road-worthy condition.

Christopher Gregory, from the Health and Safety Executive, said in written evidence that Mr Rees had attempted to climb onto his friend's tractor while it was moving and without Mr Rogers' knowledge.

As the vehicle was moving at around 10km per hour, Mr Rees had become caught up in the machine.

Dr Mark Hayes, a pathologist at Hereford County Hospital, concluded that Mr Rees died from multiple injuries with an antecedent cause of trauma from farm machinery.

A jury delivered a verdict of accidental death.

In a statement following the inquest, the Health and Safety Executive said that its investigation would continue and a decision on the next steps would be taken in due course.

The inquest heard that no risk assessments or procedures had been put in place for operations on the farm.

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