Friday, 11 March 2011

Britain's green killing fields

Agriculture claimed the lives of sixteen people, including two youngsters aged nine and ten, between April and July last year. No parts of Britain escaped the carnage, such that despite making up only 1/60th of the working population, the industry accounted for close to a quarter of the overall total of 67 deaths.

Those who died, with ages and locations, were as follows -

Simon Whittaker [aged 40] from Pyworthy, Linda Weir [58] Dumfries, Richard James [41] Kidderminster, Peter Coutts [53] Cumbria, Peter Cornish [59] Kent, Robert McAlister [9] Isle of Bute, Phil Gordon [48] Leicester, Peter Jones [68] Taunton, Peter Brian [44] Wimbourne, Jack Simpson [10] North Yorkshire, Philip Whiting [47] Cambridgeshire, Neil Abercromby [70] Perthshire, Malcolm Dobson [59] Hull,  Grzegorz Krystian Pieton [26] Norfolk, Ronald Clarke [58] Llandysul, Thomas Postlethwaite [81] Cumbria.

Of those killed six were classified as self-employed, four were members of the public and six were employees.

Falling from a height accounted for three of the deaths; whilst seven involved vehicles including Jack Simpson, of whom it was reported in a local newspaper was ‘helping out’ by driving a tractor. The Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations [PACAR] 1998 makes it clear that a child [under 13] is not permitted to drive a tractor while it is being used in the course of agricultural operations or is going to or from the site of such operations.

Jack Simpson’s death follows that of sixteen-year old Jordan Orris from Cornwall in March this year, when the tractor he was driving went into a slurry pit. There were no witnesses. PACAR 1998 makes clear a young person aged 13 to 18 should not be permitted to drive a tractor unless a responsible adult closely supervises them.

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