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Uncle fined after 14-year-old niece killed in farm accident

A farmer in Northern Ireland has been fined as a result of the death of their niece in a farm accident.

Derek Nummy’s 14-year-old niece suffered fatal crush injuries when she was struck by a JCB wheeled loading shovel driven by a 12-year-old child.

The two children had been using the loading shovel to move tyres from a silage clamp to another area of the farmyard when the incident occurred.

The Co Down farmer came before Coleraine Crown Court on Friday, June 23rd, 2023, where he pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation and was fined £15,000.

In addition, a forfeiture order was granted in respect of the JCB loading shovel involved in the incident.

The prosecution followed a joint investigation by HSENI with its enforcement partners in the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

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Speaking after the hearing, Anne Boylan, principal health & safety inspector, said: “Our thoughts today are very much with Abbie’s family.”

“Whilst incidents involving children on farms occur less frequently than with adults, it is no less shocking that in the past ten years, three children in Northern Ireland have sadly lost their lives in farm incidents.”

“Children are naturally inquisitive and are keen to help out around the farm.”

“Their immaturity and lack of experience, however, means they do not always understand the risks around them, which tragically can result in serious or fatal incidents,” Boylan added.

Farm safety

Farmers and others working in agriculture are reminded that children under 13 years of age are prohibited from operating any agricultural machinery.

All those involved in agricultural activities are advised to familiarise themselves with the relevant age restrictions and training requirements around the operation of agricultural machinery on farmland, and the relevant road licensing restrictions for driving agricultural vehicles on the public highway.

Speaking on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Detective Constable McAteer said: “Our thoughts and sympathies today remain with Abbie’s family and friends as they continue to come to terms with her death.”

“This was a tragic loss of a young life and serves as a salutary reminder of the dangers presented on a working farm, particularly when there is heavy machinery in use.”

“While nothing can bring Abbie back, we hope that this case shows how important it is to exercise care and attention when farming.”

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