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Child carried as a passenger in a telescopic materials handler and unrestricted access to farm

Summary

A farmer was prosecuted under section 3(2) & 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for putting a four old child at risk by allowing him to be carried as a passenger in a telescopic materials handler driven by a self employed contractor. The top half of the door of the telehandler was open so the child could have easily fallen from the machine and been seriously injured. In addition to this the farm slurry lagoon was not properly fenced, farm buildings were open and the keys had been left in an unattended tractor. There was easy access to the underground slurry store and above ground slurry lagoon. Having children on site, in the vicinity of the machine that had poor visibility particularly when reversing, could also have resulted in a fatal accident.

The farmer had a responsibility to protect persons who might have been affected by his work activities. Because there was a public footpath, holiday accommodation and DIY livery facilities on site it was foreseeable that children would be on the farm. Children were put at risk through the movement of vehicles, unrestricted access to machinery and unrestricted access to the slurry lagoon etc. The farmer had failed to take sufficient steps to ensure that these risks were removed or that parents and guardians are aware of the risks.

Action

The farmer pleaded guilty and was fined £500 and ordered to pay £500 towards the costs of bringing the prosecution.

2012-10-08