County Tyrone farmer fined due to safety failings

Date published: 31 October 2017

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A County Tyrone farmer was today fined at Dungannon Crown Court after an incident involving a 14 year old casual employee.

Scales of justice

Mr Charles Elkin, a farmer, of Mullagharn Road, Omagh, pleaded guilty of failing to maintain safe conditions on his farm after a 14 year old worker was found unconscious in a tractor that was mixing slurry inside a farm building.

The 14 year old had been asked to stay in the tractor while the slurry was being mixed and to switch the tractor off if it started to overheat.

The dangers of mixing slurry are well known in the farming industry, and this particular incident could easily have been avoided if the published safe system of work had been followed.

HSENI Inspector Anne Cassidy, said: “Too many fatal incidents have occurred over recent years involving slurry mixing. Following the slurry mixing code can prevent accidents and save lives. Once mixing starts everyone should get out and stay out for at least 30 minutes."

“In this case the farmer failed to follow the accepted advice, placing a young and inexperienced employee at significant risk from exposure to the potentially deadly gas produced during mixing. This incident was easily preventable.”

Notes to editors: 

1. Breaches and fines for Mr Elkin are as follows:                                             a) Article 4(1) and in particular Article 4(2)(d) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978

  • £1,000 fine
  • Offenders levy of £15.00
  • Court costs of £1,390.56

2. For media enquiries please contact: HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email media@hseni.gov.uk

3. For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

4. For information on Slurry mixing and the Safe Mixing Code see HSENI generic advice at - https://www.hseni.gov.uk/articles/slurry-working-safely-slurry

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