Recent HSE prosecution shows why children should not drive agricultural machines

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A farming partnership, based in Devon, has been successfully prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a young boy suffered a serious leg injury while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

The boy, who was just nine-years-old at the time, was a passenger on the ATV when it overturned, trapping his leg between the ground and the roll bars. The driver of the vehicle was just 13-years-old.

The child suffered a broken leg and an open wound that required a skin graft from his back. He spent two weeks in hospital and had to endure many more weeks of physiotherapy.

An investigation by the HSE found the most likely cause of the overturn was the age and inexperience of the boy driving the vehicle.

The vehicle was a powerful adult-sized machine with clear signage that indicated it should not be used by under-16s or to carry children as passengers.

The farming partnership in question pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £28,333. It was also ordered to pay costs of £5254.00.

In order to prevent a similar accident on your farm and avoid a potential prosecution, please remind yourself of the following key messages:

  • Children should not be in the workplace
  • It is illegal for under-13s to ride on agricultural vehicles/machinery
  • Work equipment like ATVs should not be used by children

For more detailed guidance, please see the HSE publication, Preventing accidents to children on farms.


Last edited on: 06:02:2019

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