Farm worker sues employer after hand sucked into combine

Gearoid Hurley, from Bandon, Co. Cork pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Thurs) during his High Court action for damages.Pic: Collins Courts
Gearoid Hurley, from Bandon, Co. Cork pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday(Thurs) during his High Court action for damages.Pic: Collins Courts
Stock photo

Tim Healy

A farm worker’s hand was sucked in to a combine harvester as he tried to free grain clogging up the machine, the High Court heard.

Gearoid Hurley (35)  told the court after his hand became trapped he was screaming in pain.

His employer tried to manually reverse the mechanism with a wrench but was unsuccessful and it was nearly an hour before his hand was freed after firemen cut through the auger of the machine.

The court was told he had been due to inherit the family dairy farm outside Bandon, Co Cork, but despite the heroic efforts of hospital doctors, his right hand is compromised and he cannot work as a dairy farmer.

He has however since taken over an outside tillage farm and his sister inherited the family dairy farm.

Mr Hurley, Mallowgaton, Bandon, has sued Mark Troy,an agricultural contractor of Knockroe,Bandon,  and agricultural company, Ardkeena Agri Services Ltd also of Bandon as a result of the accident on September 16,2016 on land in Brinny, Inishannon, Co Cork..

Mr Hurley was working for Mr Troy at the time and was attempting to manually unclog grain from the combine harvester when, it was claimed, the auger of the machine was allegedly activated by Mr Troy.

Mr Hurley has claimed he was allegedly requested to unclog the combine harvester in  dangerous and hazardous circumstances and the auger of the harvester was allegedly activated in circumstances in which injury was likely to be caused.

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He has further claimed there was an a failure to train or supervise him adequately.

Mr Hurley's hand was pulled upwards and was crushed, it is claimed.

The claims are denied.

Mr Hurley, who has a degree in business and management, told the court the plan was that he would inherit the farm when he was 35 years of age ,but due to his injury he can't now work on a dairy farm.

He said the combine harvester engine was left running while the attempts to unclog barley took place.

He put his hand up the pipe to unclog the grain but said Mr Troy got in the cab of the combine harvester and engaged the auger.

"I  began screaming. I was  calling out to him to stop the machine,my hand was entangled."he said

He added:" "I screamed turn everything off .He did and I said get my hand out."

Mr Hurley said Mr Troy then used a wrench and pulley and tried to manually reverse the mechanism but" I stopped him because the pain became unbearable."

"I could not see my hand I said for God's sake ring the fire brigade to cut me out of this."he said.

Blood he said was running down his sleeve in to his pocket.

When the fire brigade and medics arrived it was decided to build a platform from pallets so Mr Hurley could lie down.

He said there was a discussion at one stage his hand may have to be amputated.

He said he was relieved to see his hand was still there when he woke up in hospital,but the pain was "unbelievable" and indescribable."

He says he has very little grip now in his right hand which used to be his dominant hand and can't pick his phone from a flat position or tie his laces.

He has also suffered flashbacks and nightmares after the accident.

The case continues.

Online Editors


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