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Farm fined £45,000 after teenage worker died in grain bin tragedy

A farm in the Scottish Borders has been fined £45,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety Act which ultimately killed a young farm worker.


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HSE inspector Allison Aitken said: “This was an entirely avoidable tragedy.
HSE inspector Allison Aitken said: “This was an entirely avoidable tragedy.

A farm has been sentenced after a young man was killed clearing a blockage in a grain bin in Hawick, Scottish Borders.

 

19-year-old Zach Fox was working for Seamore Farming, at Deanfoot farm, Hawick, when the incident happened in August 2015.

 

Blockage

 

Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard the grain bins used on the farm were cleaned out about four times a year, before moving from one type of grain to another.

 

Mr Fox was trying to clear a blockage in one of the bins on August 1, 2015.

 

The bin in question still contained a quantity of grain, which began to empty out, killing Mr Fox as a result of asphyxiation.

 

A HSE investigation into the incident found the system of work in place to clear blockages in the grain bin was inherently and obviously unsafe.

 

Seamore Farming, of Deanfoot Farm, Hawick, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3.1 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £45,000.

 

Read now: Farmer, 60, killed and son seriously injured in farm incident

 

Avoidable

After sentencing HSE inspector Allison Aitken said: “This was an entirely avoidable tragedy which resulted in the death of a young man.

 

“The dangers associated with working within the confined space of grain silos and clearing blockages in grain silos are well known within the farming industry and well documented in HSE guidance.

 

“Farmers should ensure that they have a safe system of work in place for clearing blockages in grain silos which avoids the need for anyone to enter inside them.

 

"This can be easily achieved, where necessary, by making some minor modifications to working practices to enable the task to be completed safely from outside the grain silo”.

 


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