Teenager died in ‘avoidable’ accident

The farm accident which claimed the life of a teenager was an “entirely avoidable tragedy”, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said this week.

Nineteen-year-old Zach Fox died after being engulfed in oil seed rape while trying to clear a blockage in a grain bin at Deanfoot Farm, Denholm, on August 1, 2014.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found the system of work in place to clear blockages in the grain bin was inherently and obviously unsafe.

Seamore Farming, a partnership having its business at Deanfoot Farm, Denholm, was fined £45,000 at Jedburgh Sheriff Court after admitting failing to make a suitable assessment of health and safety.

HSE inspector Allison Aitken told the Hawick News: “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 with-
in 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.”