Farmers are being reminded to ensure they have full forward visibility when driving machinery.
The plea from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) follows a fatal incident involving a member of the public on a Yorkshire farm.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that, on February 22 2017, the deceased was struck by a telescopic loader being driven by farmer Anthony Ackroyd, at Waller House Farm in Wighill, Tadcaster.
The court heard the incident occurred when Mr Ackroyd was driving the JCB telescopic loader carrying bales of hay on the front, severely restricting forward visibility. He could not see the deceased and drove over him, killing him instantly.
An HSE investigation found the deceased had previously been employed on the farm before his retirement, and lived in a cottage adjacent to the farm. He was a regular visitor to the farm.
The investigation also found Mr Ackroyd was carrying an employee of the farm on the loader at the time. The employee was standing on the mounting step of the vehicle in such a way that had he slipped off the step, he would have fallen directly under the wheels of the machine.
The farm business pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £10,690 costs.
“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident,” said HSE inspector Julian Franklin.
“Drivers should ensure that they can always see in front of them or take equally effective precautions.
“Vehicles at work continue to be a major cause of fatal and major injuries; every year there are over 5,000 incidents involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these result in people being killed.”