A MAN was killed by falling bales of straw as he performed a routine farm task, an inquest heard.
Stephen Wilson, 49, of Cote Hill Farm, near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, died on November 27, 2013, from subdural haemorrhage and a fractured skull at nearby Bitcha Green Farm.
The jury inquest held at Northallerton’s County Hall was told that Mr Wilson had not been seen since around 4pm, when he told his father Dennis Wilson he was going to bed down some cattle in Bitcha Green Farm.
Mr Wilson told coroner Michael Oakley his son worked with him across three different farms and had been a farmer since he left school.
He said: “I had not seen him since 4pm so I went to Bitcha Green Farm to look for him but he was not where I thought he would have been by then.
“He was using straw that was in giant rectangular bales and stacked up in the end of the barn and taking out chunks from the top.”
He found his son, who was unresponsive, underneath four bales of straw in the barn.
Mr Wilson believed his son would have been able to stand on lower bales, which were only two bales high, to get to bales stacked up to seven high.
He added that although most of the bales were rectangular, some at the back were cylindrical but placed on their flat sides.
Health and Safety Executive inspector John Micklethwaite said he believed there could have been instability within the structure of the pile of bales.
He said: “I had to conclude that it was the second stack that collapsed on Mr Wilson.
“They were big bales of around nine feet wide and long, weighing about half a ton.
“But I can’t say whether he was working from the floor or on the two-bale high second stack, and I can’t say if it was his action that caused the collapse.”
The jury concluded Mr Wilson died as a result of an accident.