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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘The safest place for the children is in the house’ – uncle speaks about nephew’s (4) death

Brian Nutter was at the wheel of a farm vehicle when his nephew, Harry Lee (4), fell from the cab footplate and was crushed beneath its wheels.

He appeared before Wigan Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 7th, 2022, in connection with the incident, where he was handed a 26-week suspended prison sentence, as reported by That’s Farming.

The judge also ordered the Burnley, Lancashire farmer to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £5,154.

An HSE-led investigation found that he had “insufficient” measures to ensure the safety of children on the farm.

Farm accident 

As part of this year’s Farm Safety Week, he recalled the incident and urged “everyone in agriculture to do more to keep children safe”.

“We were cleaning a shed out in the farmyard, using a telescopic handler, and we had to get something out of the field.”

“Harry was with me, and I put him on the machine, as I had done in the past, and we drove out the yard, onto the lane and into the field. I turned around, and he had gone, and he was under the wheel. It was so, so quick.”

“We were brought up on a farm, and we did things, and we were lucky that nothing happened. We were brought up doing it, and you follow suit. My own children had been on the farm with me, and Harry was the next generation, the younger one.”

“He spent a lot of time with me because that is what he wanted to do. I loved him being with me because I did not think we were doing anything wrong. I wish that Harry had stopped in the house that day, but he did not.

“Also, I miss him loads; every day, I miss him. I wish he were here. Furthermore, I would do anything to bring him back, but I cannot, and that is the hardest bit. I always think about him, I do a job now, and he is always there with me.”

Hazards

He added that the hazards of farming are not always recognised, but farms were a dangerous place for children.

“The safest place for the children is in the house. Always take a step back and think,” he added.

He says he wants people to look and think about what they are doing and that there is always another way.

“I know I am not the first and hope I am the last, but I know I will not be,” he added.

“I do not want it to happen again. Everyone needs to think. I hope if people know what happened, they will be a bit more aware of what they are doing, and they will not have to go through what I am going through.”

He stated that farmers are now getting bigger, machinery is getting bigger, and we are all running at a faster pace.

Children

Now, he added, farming is changing so fast that it has become more of a dangerous place for children.

“But it is so hard when it is their home; that is the biggest trouble. There is less of you doing the work and looking after children at the same time. The children want to be with you because they want to be learning.”

“I want to get the message across. I am one of the people it has happened to, and I do not want it to happen again.”

“People need to be aware of what can happen. Everyone needs to think. If the children are not there, it cannot happen. If Harry had stopped in the house, he would be here now.”

The Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998 prohibits children under the age of 13 from riding on, or operating, vehicles used in agricultural operations.

No one, including children, should ride on the footplate of any agricultural machine, the HSE stresses.

“It has had a massive impact on all the family. Life has changed forever. It will never be the same again. I wish I had done something different. It will never leave me. I wish I had not had him on the vehicle with me. Please do not do it,” the uncle of Harry Lee concluded.

Other articles on That’s Farming:

VIDEO: ‘I lost my balance and fell 14ft’ – farmer on accident

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