The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has investigated a fatal incident on a Hawick farm where a 19 year old worker died while trying to clear a blockage in a grain store.
The incident which occurred in August 2014 involved the farm employee working with large storage containers called grain bins. The HSE reported that these bins were emptied four times a year and cleaned out before a different grain type was stored.
The bins have an exit door which allow the grain to pour out onto a conveyor belt.
Blockages were not uncommon and the worker was attempting to clear a blockage but became immersed in the grain and suffocated.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court fined the farm £45,000 for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
After the case was heard, HSE Inspector Allison Aitken said:
“The dangers associated with working within the confined space of grain silos and clearing blockages in grain silos are well known within 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”.