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Farm company fined for failings that led to a young boys injury

An agricultural company has admitted health and safety failings which resulted in an eight year old boy losing part of his leg.

James Kelly & Sons Ltd, which operates a beef and poultry farm at Airdrie Farm, Kirkbean in Dumfries were fined £10,000 at Dumfries Sheriff Court.

They pled guilty to a contravention of Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998 and Section 15 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

The court heard that on the morning of 14 October 2015 the boy had been allowed to ride alongside a company employee on the back of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that had a grass cutting machine attached to the rear.

The boy fell from the ATV and injured his lower right leg on the cutting machine.

He was rushed to hospital but subsequently had to have his lower leg amputated below the knee.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found a number of failings in relation to training and safety and subsequently served an Improvement Notice on the company.

Speaking following the sentencing, Alistair Duncan, Head of Health and Safety Division, Crown Office, said:

“It is illegal to allow a child under 13 years old to be carried on a machine such as the ATV in this case.

"This accident resulted in life changing injuries that could have been avoided if the appropriate measures had been in place at the time.

“A child in a farm environment will often feel themselves to be at home, and be considered so by their family, when in fact for the purposes of health and safety legislation they are in a work environment.

“This case highlights the dangers involved in the use of such vehicles, particularly where children are concerned, and will hopefully serve as a reminder to the farming community of the inherent dangers posed to children living on farms.

“No other industry allows children into the workplace where they may be at risk of serious injury or, in the worst case scenario, a fatality.. It is crucial that they are protected from the high risk activities that make up agricultural work.”

Health and Safety Executive Inspector Kim Munro said: 

“There are no winners in this case.

“We’re calling on farmers to take responsibility and own the process of identifying, managing and preventing risk in their workplace.

“We’ve spent recent weeks highlighting this issue, with more inspectors visiting farms across Great Britain.”