‘Shocked’ Norfolk mill worker is recovering at home after fall

Emergency services at the scene of a rescue at Duffields mill in Saxlingham Thorpe. Copyright Fraser Rush. Emergency services at the scene of a rescue at Duffields mill in Saxlingham Thorpe. Copyright Fraser Rush.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
2:44 PM

A “shocked” Norfolk mill worker is keen to return to normality after a minor fall sparked a huge rescue drama.

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The man, who asked not to be named, had been moving equipment at Duffields animal feed mill in Saxlingham Thorpe on Monday.

An ambulance service spokesman initially said the worker had fallen 25m, but it has now emerged that the man tripped over on a wooden floor that was around 25m from ground level but he did not fall 25m.

It is understood the worker, who was in his 40s, tripped backwards over machinery in the grain silo and suffered suspected fractured ribs.

Due to the nature of where he was working, around a dozen emergency vehicles were called to rescue him - including specialist rope-rescue teams.

Alistair Duffield, the mill’s managing director, said the emergency services did a “fantastic” job.

He explained the man who was injured was a member of the maintenance team and was working with a colleague when he tripped.

His colleague phoned site first aider David Self who was on scene within two minutes, and the 999 call was made at 1.46pm.

Mr Duffield said: “The hardest thing was getting him down.

“Getting someone down from the top of the mill is very difficult.

“It was distressing for our staff.

“A 25m fall would be very serious, but fortunately it’s nothing like that at all.”

An ambulance service spokesman confirmed that the worker fell while at a height of 25m but did not fall 25m.

The worker was taken on a stretcher to a door at the top of the mill then lowered from the roof on a high platform.

He was discharged from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Monday night and is recovering at home.

It is understood he wants to return to work as soon as possible and return to normality.

“A lot of this would have been the shock of it happening and him being lifted down from the mill in front of that many people,” said Mr Duffield.

More than 100 people work at the mill, off the A140, and Mr Duffield said the incident demonstrated that the site emergency plan is fit for purpose.

“We’re a big family here,” he added. “It’s not just 100 people who turn up - we do look after everybody.”

Emergency teams that attended included the ambulance trust’s hazardous area response team (HART) and fire service’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team.

Duffields employees Jason Dyer, operations manager and Paul Monk, group health and safety manager, helped co-ordinate the rescue.

Saxlingham is the headquarters for the family-run Duffields, which has been making animal feeds for more than 100 years for the pig, poultry, cattle, sheep, game and specialist feed sectors.

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