Teenager dies from using Farm Equipment


A farming partnership has been prosecuted after a teenage employee died when the tractor he was driving collided with a bridge. The 19-year-old worker had only been employed for three weeks. The tractor and tandem-axle trailer he was using to transport grain from one farm to another failed to negotiate a roundabout and struck a bridge. The worker sustained major injuries and later died in hospital. The company was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of just over £67,274.

The case was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The inspectors found that the trailer was fitted with drum type brakes that had not been correctly adjusted, rendering them ineffective. The teenager’s death could have been prevented if his employer had properly managed the risks involved, and if the work equipment had been properly maintained.

Things to do to ensure machinery is used correctly:

  • The undertaking of a risk assessment to determine the hazards involved in the specific work activity.

  • Ensuring that employees are informed of the significant hazards and risks relating to their work activities and how to manage them.

  • Ensuring the equipment / machinery prior to use is being maintained / serviced / inspected as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and or due to any statutory requirement.

  • Ensuring the employees who use the equipment know how to use it properly and are aware of any SSoW (Safe System of Work / Procedure) that have been produced which identify the methodologies (i.e. evidenced pre-use checks of vehicles / equipment / machinery carried out prior to use / use of guards / use of push sticks / checking of the work area or route to be driven), and that PPE provided to reduce the risk of injury occurring where no other controls will suffice is appropriate and being worn correctly.

  • Ensuring that only authorised persons who have been trained, have access to and can use the equipment and further, ensuring that any supervisory requirements are being met.
The above fatality could have been prevented if the duty holder had correctly maintained the work equipment being used by the employee.

This is a good time to ensure risk assessments, standards, training and supervision
are appropriate, up-to-date and the provisions of your health and safety policy are being applied in practice. You should bring this Safety Alert to the attention of all personnel who need to take action.


If you have a query regarding this alert, or any other health & safety issue, please do not
hesitate to contact us.

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© 23/05/2018 LELC                                                                                                                                        HSBN0518


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