Children and Farms – be aware of the dangers!

According to the HSE agriculture has one of the highest fatal accident rates of any industry in the UK. It is also the only high-risk industry that has to deal with the constant presence of children. Farms are homes as well as workplaces.

Visitors to the countryside, many of them children, are often present on farm whilst work activities are being carried out. The following Case Study reflects not only the dangers on farm but also the dangers to children from the use of common farm machinery and equipment and common farming activities.

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.

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

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About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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