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Director of Suffolk animal feed company denies health and safety breach

PUBLISHED: 07:37 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:16 29 October 2015

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

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An animal feed director, from Halesworth, said he believed a "well tried" safety system was in place at his company, despite the death of a worker, a court heard.

Neville Bloss, a driver for Protein Feeds Ltd, based at Brakes Lane Farm, in Darsham, Suffolk, died after he was hit by a JCB driven by director Adrian Herrmann, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The court was told Mr Bloss had been taking samples of animal feed when the accident happened and he died at the scene from crush injuries to his chest, on December 19, 2011.

The company is charged with breaching health and safety regulations by not ensuring safety of its employees.

Herrmann, 56, of Old Station Road, Halesworth, is also charged with perverting the course of justice, as it is alleged he tried to cover up poor working practises by providing falsified documents.

Giving evidence in his defence, Herrmann said that procedures in place meant that Mr Bloss should not have come into the shed while he was driving the JCB without letting him know.

He described Mr Bloss as a “brilliant individual” and said as an experienced worker he knew the routine.

He said: ”I thought we had a very well tried out system.”

He said on the day of the accident he had been working in the shed and then went to the office to get paperwork. When he returned he found the body of Mr Bloss and despite doing all he could to help Mr Bloss died at the scene.

He said at first he thought Mr Bloss had died from natural causes and it was only after the post mortem that he discovered it was as a result of an accident. with a vehicle he had been driving.

Asked by his barrister Graham Parkins QC if there was anything more he could have done to separate man and machine, Herrmann replied: “It would have been very, very difficult.”

He also denied falsifying any documentation and said that he had relied on Timothy Finch the company’s “accreditation officer” and thought he was a “professional.”

Asked by Greg Perrins prosecuting if he felt the company had any responsibility for the death of Mr Bloss he replied: “I think limited responsibility in that the system failed. There was a breakdown in communication.”

The trial continues.

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