An inquest was held yesterday into the death of Stephen Richard Toppin, who died after he was hit by a tractor, as reported by newsandstar.co.uk.
The 57-year-old died after he was struck by a tractor back in January of this year, on Wragmire Bank Farm, near Carlisle. Mr. Toppin was an employee of the farm for over 11-years and lived in the nearby McAdam Way, Penrith.
The inquest was held yesterday in Carlisle, with Coroner Simon Ward telling the inquest that Toppin’s medical records indicated he was 70% deaf. A fellow farm worker, Craig Murray, described to the courts what he saw upon returning to the farm, shortly after the fatal incident.
“As I got out of the Land Rover I saw Stephen on the floor in front of the tractor and Sam Hetherington [tractor driver] crouched over him on the phone,” Murray said in a statement.
“I asked if he had hit him and Sam replied ‘he stepped out in front of me’." he continued.
Murray, also told the those in attendance, that he once had a close call with Stephen about two years previously, but said he could not recall whether he had notified the owner, Mr. Wood, of the farm about the incident.
The farm owner, speaking at the inquest, said he had no recollection of the incident mentioned by Murray. He said Mr. Toppin had always been a “hard worker” and noted he was an “excellent employee”. An improvement notice was served by the HSE to Mr. Wood, following the accident, and he says he has complied with orders. The inquest then referred back to the victim, Mr. Toppin. The inquest heard from Dr. Stuart Routledge, of Cumberland Infirmary’s audiology department, that Mr. Tippin was having difficulty with his hearing aid in the months leading up to the accident.
“The degree of his hearing loss was such that even wearing the hearing aid, it’s unlikely he would’ve been able to access significant amounts of conversational level speech components and would struggle to hear some environmental sounds, facing particular issues in noise in challenging acoustic conditions.” he said in a statement.
Another co-worker on the farm,Megan Wallis, spoke at the hearing to say that Mr. Toppin had always been safety conscious.
“I always made sure he was alright and he would make sure I was alright. I always thought he looked where he was going.” she commented.
The inquest heard that the post mortem examination of Mr. Toppin had revealed he died from traumatic head injuries.
Note: We reported on this to highlight the need for vigilance when working on a farm, watch out for your co-workers.