Trainee mechanic, 17, dies after being crushed by a tractor during a work placement on a farm

16 February 2023, 08:32

Neil Graham
Neil Graham. Picture: Handout

By Kit Heren

Two men have been fined after a teenage mechanic they were training died when he was crushed by a tractor on a farm.

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Neil Graham, 17, died during a work placement on a farm in Enniskillen, in Northern Ireland, in May 2018, in an accident the family said "shattered" their world.

The engineering student was working for Gordon Brown Agricultural Engineering when he was helping repair a tractor that had a safety feature bypassed.

Neil was trying to find an oil leak underneath the vehicle when it leapt forward after Gordon Brown, 63, started the vehicle, with the back right wheel crushing the trainee to death.

Health and safety inspectors found a safety feature to prevent the vehicle being started while in gear had been disabled before it was brought in for repairs.

LBC's Ben Kentish shares figures of homes that don't reach basic health and safety standards.

Brown said he was unaware of this and would not have let Neil get near the tractor if he had known about the bypassed system.

Jamie Loane, 27, whose family farming business C and V Loane Ltd owned the tractor, said he was also unaware of the modification, although the court heard that as the main user of the vehicle he was "under duty to make himself aware" of changes and pass these on.

Neil could also have been told to use an inspection pit to look for the oil leak safely, but this instruction was not issued.

"Neil Graham tragically lost his life as a result of central failings attributable in several ways to the defendants," the prosecutor said.

Read more: Breathtaking footage shows terrifying moment family in car are almost crushed by lorry driver

Read more: Pictured: Workman crushed to death after pop-up urinal 'dropped suddenly', inquest hears

Brown was fined £20,000 after admitting a charge of being an employer and failing to provide a safe system of work at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday.

Jamie Loane pleaded guilty to being an employee and failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and others, and was fined £10,000.

C and V Loane Ltd was also fined £20,000 after pleading guilty to ailing to ensure a non-employee was not exposed to risks to health and safety.

Neil's parents Eddie and Joy said their popular and loyal son's death had "shattered" their world.

"He will never become a mechanic, he will never get married and have children," Mr Graham said of Neil.

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