Country estate prosecuted after flanker blinded at shoot

With Boxing Day and the festive season being some of the busiest times of the year for shooting, the following case provides a timely reminder to comply with Health and Safety regulations.

The case concerns a sporting and country estate that was sentenced for safety breaches after a worker suffered a life changing injury.

The 61-year-old injured worker was acting as a flanker to funnel driven grouse towards the line of guns and stop birds flying out of the side of the drive. Shooting started before he was in position so he had not put safety glasses on.  At the time he was shot he was directly in front of the line of guns but they were unable to see him. He was hit by shotgun pellets, one of which severed the optic nerve in his left eye leaving him permanently blind in that eye. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the estate over the incident.

The Trustees of the Estate, which is located in North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £2,250 and ordered to pay £4,486 in costs by Scarborough Magistrates Court.

After the hearing, a spokesman for the HSE said: “Had the estate carried out an effective risk assessment, they could have taken some simple precautions to prevent this injury. The simple fact is that you should never stand in front of a man with a gun, especially if he can’t see you.”


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