Farmers and crofters have been reminded not to carry children as passengers on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
The reminder from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) comes after a farming partnership in Devon was fined after a boy suffered a serious leg injuruy while travelling in an ATV on farmland.
Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard how, on May 7 2017, a nine-year-old boy was travelling as a passenger on an ATV being driven by a 13-year-old.
The vehicle overturned trapping the nine-year-old boy’s leg between the ground and the roll over protection bars. He suffered a serious break in his lower leg and sustained an open wound which required a skin grant to heal. The boy spent a couple of weeks in hospital and required weeks of physiotherapy.
An investigation by the HSE found the most likely cause of the overturn was the inexperience and age of the driver, who had no formal training. It said the ATV was a powerful adult-sized machine provided for farm work, and should not have been used or travelled in by the children.
It said the manufacturer’s instruction and signage on the machine made it clear that it was not suitable for use by under-16s and that children should not be carried as passengers, but this was ignored.
E C Haste of Shebbear, Beaworthy, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £28,333 and ordered to pay costs of £5,254.
HSE inspector, Emma O’Hara, said: “Farms are first and foremost a workplace and children should be kept safe.
“Children should not be carried as passengers on ATVs. No child under 13 should use an ATV for work and children over 13 should only use appropriate sized lower power ATVs after formal training.
“Farmers should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards, especially where children are involved.”