Take more care of children, says HSE

27 August 1999

Take more care of children, says HSE

MORE care must be taken to prevent children being killed on farms, the Health and Safety Executive has warned.

Three children have died in farm accidents since Apr 1, the same number killed in the whole of the previous year.

David Mattey, HSEs chief inspector of agriculture, said children continued to be injured and killed on farms, despite a major education campaign, legislation that had been in force for more than 40 years, and the recent introduction of a new code of practice.

Run over by tractor

In the past 12 years, 73 children have been killed on farms. The three deaths this year involved a five-year-old from Lancs and another girl, aged four, from Wales, who were run over by tractors, and a 14-year-old boy from Scotland who burned to death while playing in a straw- filled barn.

"Incidents continue to be a repetition of publicised, foreseeable situations, and in many cases parents had direct control of the events which led to the injury," said Mr Mattey.

Innocents at risk

"Particularly in the case of very young children I can only conclude that they were innocents put at risk by the direct or inadequate actions of adults. Investigation following an injury in some instances revealed an astonishingly cavalier attitude."

Practical guidance was readily available for farmers, said Mr Mattey, adding: "I cannot accept the comment after an injury to a child that this was just another tragic accident. Experience unfortunately shows that this is rarely the case."

Copies of HSEs Farmwise guide to health and safety in agriculture and its code of practice, Preventing accidents to children in agriculture, are available from HSE Books (01787-881165). &#42

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