Last year there were 33 deaths in the agricultural industry in the UK; the most common causes of death involved falls, transport, animals and equipment.
On Friday 26 October a farm partnership was fined £100,000 at Carlisle Crown Court after an employee, who was exiting a shed, was tragically struck by a tractor and died in January 2017. Farm workers going to and from this shed had to cross a route which was regularly used by farm vehicles on a busy farm.
The farm partnership pleaded guilty to a breach of The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 s17(1) which provides that:
'17(1) Every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner'.
Duringits investigation, the HSE found that the farm partnership had not taken action to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner.
Whilst on this occasion, the accident occurred on a farm, there is a risk to all businesses where there are workers and moving vehicles operating in close proximity. This risk can be managed by having in place suitable control measures to prevent or reduce these risks.
After the hearing in this case HSE Inspector Matthew Tinsley advised: "These measures can include using railings, segregated vehicle and pedestrian routes, speed limits and warning signs. Taking simple steps such as these can help to prevent tragic accidents such as this."
This case serves as a reminder that employers will be held to account for failure to fulfil health and safety obligations incumbent upon them.
If you wish to discuss any Health and Safety issues, please do not hesitate to contact me or your usual Brodies contact.