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Child working unsupervised

Summary

A 14 year old boy suffered serious head injuries when he was struck by the forks of a materials handler that was being driven by the farmer's 15 year old son. The farmer had allowed the boys to work unsupervised. They were connecting a trailer to a tractor in an unsafe manner when it seems the draw bar fell from the fork and the forks struck the child on the head. The youth had driven the handler since he was 13 having received no training other than what his father had provided.

Action

The active partner in the business was prosecuted under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 s3 (1) for failing to provide adequate instructions / training and supervision to a young person which had resulted in an unsafe system of work being carried. The partner was fined £1,000.

Advice

Transport, being trapped by something collapsing, overturning vehicles and machinery are amongst the most common cause of accidents to children on farms. Some of the accidents have been fatal. Children are more vulnerable to injury than adults. Adequate instruction and training, appropriate to the physical and emotional maturity of the person being trained should be provided for all pieces of equipment used on the farm - this is particularly important for young people and inexperienced operators.

2015-02-13