Inquest hears details of slurry deaths

First published in Farming News

The family of a man killed in a slurry accident says there is a "serious lack" of awareness surrounding the dangers of agricultural work.

Craig Whipps, 27, and Paul Gray, 50, died at Albyns Farm near Ongar on 15 July 2011. Mr Gray died trying to rescue Mr Whipps. Verdicts of accidental death were recorded in both cases. The two men were working at Albyns Farm in Stapleford Tawney when they died

An inquest in Chelmsford heard Mr Whipps died of immersion in slurry after bolts were removed from a tower.

The 11-strong jury heard both men would have been overcome by fumes.

The inquest was told that Richard Brown and Mr Whipps, who moved to Stapleford Tawney in Essex from Denton in Norfolk, had been emptying the contents of a slurry storage tower into a tank below.

But a valve was not working properly, which was reported to farm owner Robert Torrance, who told them to "leave it alone".

The inquest heard nuts, bolts and a ratchet spanner were later found in the slurry and on the balance of probability it was believed Mr Whipps had tried to solve the valve problem.  Mr Gray's widow, Anna, said: "The last 18 months have been hell as we've struggled to accept what happened. I just hope lessons are learnt by the farming industry in general about the risks workers face."

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